Almost two years ago, I found a book in the used book section at the bookstore entitled The Handbook on Denominations. Being used, and wondering just what the differences were theologically between x, y and z denominations, the book couldn’t hurt my pocketbook, for $5, I thought (oh how foolish I often am!)
Well, to make a very long story very short, oversimplistic and almost silly, here’s what big decision I found myself making on Wednesday. This letter should as shortly but succintly sum up what happen.
To Whom it May Concern:
As my e-mail on 2/26 stated, I’m writing to formal remove my name for the inquiry status with the PC(USA) in the Whitewater Valley Presbytery in the state of Indiana.
I want to make it clear that I made this decision after nearly 5 years of trusting and obeying a call to ministry with the PC(USA) and trusting that this choice is not one made lightly. To be honest, it is a decision I make with a heavy heart, knowing that I am walking away from a denomination that has shaped me into the woman and Christian I am today; as such, it feels like I am losing a part of my family or my body.
But I am encouraged to know that while I feel a deep loss in this decision, it is one I have not made out of selfishness or based upon fears. Rather this decision comes with much prayer, conversation, and affirmations from my community. I have made this decision after receiving both feedback and responses that have either forced me to ask questions about the denomination or my role within the denomination that would not have happened had I not begun this journey.
I walk away not denying or disobeying a call to ministry, nor to the Church, but trust that the God who calls me to love and speak Truth, also calls me to minister to a community willing to edify in the midst of counsel. My experience on this journey has infrequently been edifying, but I’ve found myself facing more fears that I cannot ever perfect what a group of people may want simply because I do not live in an identical box that others do.
I want to also be clear that it is not the seminary which I have chosen that has led me down this path; community members from within the Presbyterian community at the seminary are equally in agreement that while this decision is not easy, it is one I should make if I am to continue to thrive within the context of the church.
I am grieved because I know that I could have remained through this process, forged through the concerns I face in regard to any number of things, and ultimately, joined a group of people with whom I would gladly call colleagues and friends. Equally I am grieved because I know that my call aligns with this ministry, but I have come to a perspective where I know that my call is not limited by any singular denomination. My gifts and call will be met elsewhere with welcome arms; a fact I must cling to.
May the God of peace and grace be seen in these words, and may you know I write them with both love and brokenness on my heart and in my mind
Joyfully and Graciously.