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Lesbian UM Pastor And Her Lesbian Partner Assist In Rebel Ordination Of Lutheran Lesbian


Judy WestLee, a co-convener of Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Concerns attended the ordination of Anita Hill last Saturday. Following is an uplifting message she posted to Affirmation's discussion list, reprinted with her permission.


April 30, 20001

I am pleased to say I was one of the clergy taking a very small part of Anita Hill's service.

Anita & her partner, along with myself & my partner Janet, belong to a lesbian faith professionals potluck group. [Frightening concept, isn't it? Thirty to 50 lesbian ministers/chaplains/nuns & their partners gathering periodically in Minneapolis for "pot luck" - Jell-O with marshmallows, wild rice casseroles, etc. a la Garrison Keelor] So, Anita had asked all of us clergy-types to robe & process for her ordination. The invitation was further extended to all clergy supporters. I heard they were expecting about 50 clergy to process Saturday. When I trotted past an usher who was counting us just before we entered the sanctuary ["nave"] he looked at me and said "Number 142 and still more coming!!!" So, I have another nickname... Number 142. I would guess there were about 150 clergy processing. Of that number about half were Lutheran.

The Lutherans led the procession. The sanctuary is quite large, but Janet was seated in the auditorium as part of the overflow crowd. As I said, I & 5 other UMC clergy were near the end of the procession. Ushers were scrambling around to find folding chairs to seat us in the far back of the sanctuary. We processed in singing "O Praise the Gracious Power." I was struck by the great number of people crying as we went past. Even the ASL signer was whipping her eyes.

The procession went through, looped around, the folding chairs in back were full, another usher motioned to we 5 UMC types and said, "Follow me!" Apparently they had over estimated the number of family who would be present and had an entire row vacant.....third from the alter! We felt rather special!

Our preacher was the Rev. Michael L. Cobbler. He certainly stirred things up! He asked how long were we going to keep people out of an empty church?!? His text was Luke 5:17-26, which tells of the paraplegic whose friends made a hole in the roof to bring him to Jesus.

Now, friends, our beloved denomination has just started a major evangelism campaign which talks about "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors!'

My mind is just racing with ideas: "In the open front door; out the back door." "How open is your heart, your mind, your door?" "Open door but is there room in your church for us?" "If your door is open why must I make a hole in your roof?" "Open door but is there room in your empty church for us?"

Well, you get the idea. After the ordination we clapped, shouted, yodeled and stamped our feet. And, yes, I think I did spot a hole in church roof!

The theme of the service was "Here I Am. Here We Are." which is particularly apropos for Lutherans with Martin Luther's declaration: "Here I stand!"

It was indeed a good day!

Judy WestLee 
Minneapolis, MN

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