The National Board of More Light Presbyterians presented the More Light Presbyterians in Middle Tennessee chapter with the 2006 National Chapter Leadership Award during the 217th meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Birmingham, Alabama on Thursday June 16, 2006. This award was given in recognition of the chapter’s work within the greater Nashville community to further the mission of More Light Presbyterians: “Following the risen Christ and seeking to make the Church a true community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians is to work for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, work and ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA).”
The chapter’s work in sponsoring opportunities for education, advocacy, worship, fellowship for GLBT persons of faith, their families and their supporters prompted the inscription on the award: “By working for justice, challenging discrimination and creating safe places for all God’s children, your welcome to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and their families provides a life-saving ministry and witness to area churches, your community, the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee and the Presbyterian Church (USA). Local churches, your community, presbytery, our Church and world are more loving and faithful places because of your hospitality, commitment to justice, ministry, outreach and mission.”
Specific chapter activities have included hosting a regional conference on becoming and being a welcoming congregation, sponsoring local exhibits of stoles from The Shower of Stoles ProjectTM, coordinating an ecumenical worship service, providing meals to the Vanderbilt Presbyterian Student Fellowship and participating in Nashville Pride Parade & Festival as a not-for-profit organization sponsor and exhibitor to demonstrate that the Church can be a welcoming community of true hospitality and to celebrate God’s gift of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons.
Chapter Co-Chairs, The Reverend Stacy Rector, Co-Pastor Second Presbyterian Church, and Trice Gibbons, Member, Second Presbyterian Church accepted the award on the chapter’s behalf at the More Light Presbyterians dinner in Birmingham. They recognized the contribution of the chapter’s extraordinary Steering Committee which includes representatives from seven Nashville area Presbyterian congregations: Hillsboro, Hillwood, Second, Southminster, Trinity, Westminster, and Woodland Presbyterian Churches. The chapter is not officially sanctioned by the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee (regional governing body) or any specific, local congregation.
The More Light Presbyterians organization provides a ministry of care for inclusive congregations; educates individuals, churches, and presbyteries on GLBT issues through published materials and programs; trains leaders in congregations and presbyteries to advocate for the full participation of GLBT Christians in the life and ministry of the Presbyterian Church; funds proactive work in passing legislation that eradicates homophobia and injustice in the Presbyterian Church and in society; partners with other faith traditions to support the GLBT community in matters of justice; and bears witness to the individual God-given gifts of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Church.
For additional information about More Light Presbyterians, visit www.mlp.org or contact the chapter at [email protected] or P.O. Box 158478, Nashville, Tenn. 37215. For additional information about the Presbyterian Church (USA), visit www.pcusa.org.