Honoring the Whole Child of God
Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe resigned as Vice Moderator of the 220th General Assembly three days after being confirmed. Her decision to perform a religious wedding ceremony for a same gender couple around the time she was asked to stand for Vice Moderator created “distracting tension in the church.” McCabe’s resignation came from “that same pastoral core that led me to be present with two women in their sacred moment in DC.”
“I met two women who asked me to perform a religious wedding ceremony for them in the District of Columbia. They both were Catholic and, more importantly, so were their families. They were seeking a religious terrain that would affirm their love for each other, their love from and for their families, and their faith in God’s great love for which they, to this day, are still grateful. I said yes and officiated a religious marriage ceremony for them, in a restaurant, in the District of Columbia.”
After the 220th General Assembly, written allegations were filed against McCabe which resulted in a censure being read aloud at the National Capital Presbytery meeting in January.
In an Ecclesio.com article, written for our friends at the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, McCabe reflects on the “theological bankruptcy” created by church policies that prohibit Teaching Elders from providing pastoral care to same gender couples.
Not often do I find deep tension with our ordination vows. But here I did. I am a teaching elder in a church that baptizes children of couples and grandparents. Nowhere do we require the parents of children being baptized to be of different genders. Our polity and our liturgy speaks to them as people of faith, parents or grandparents—no other qualifications. We also serve communion to all people who have been baptized. We confirm our baptized children as they make a profession of faith, never singling out sexual orientation as a matter for their confirmation discernment. As Presbyterians, we discern a calling to ordered ministry, ordaining leaders in our congregations and denomination, not based on sexual orientation but on commitment to Christ and the church. And that commitment is a high and honest bar! In all of these decisions and moments, as a pastor, I am to engage fully in the spiritual nurture of the people and offer ritual and ordered worship that celebrates their lives in response to God’s presence.
Here is the rub and the theological bankruptcy I feel I am “pastoring” in. I am not permitted to order worship and celebrate the love of God in the covenant of marriage for the same folk whom I have baptized, confirmed, served communion, and even ordained as pastors. There is a gross error in how we as pastors and congregations are then honoring the whole child of God whom we have started with in baptism.
Read the full article at Ecclesio.com
Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe Resigns as Vice Moderator
“I am a pastor. That is who God calls me to be. And as I reflect on what is happening now, I think I am embodying a reality for a growing number of pastors who find ourselves caught. We are caught between being pastors, being with couples during those sacred moments when they make their vows to one another, and having a polity that restricts us from living out our pastoral calling. Especially in states where it is legal for everyone to be married. The tension over all of this is real and clearly the energy and passion about this issue runs deep. And it is not going away…I am resigning as your Vice Moderator. It is my choice and it is my decision. It comes from that same pastoral core that lead me to be present with two women in their sacred moment in DC.”