oh the times, they are a-changin’

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.

Libby

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13 responses to “oh the times, they are a-changin’

  1. You didn’t mention Jesus in the letter, so I do not accept it.

  2. Libby, you’re very brave to do this. It would have been much easier to pretend like nothing was wrong. May God continue to lead you in the direction you’re called too.

  3. @Jon, she said “God,” being a Trinitarian, that would count. 😉

  4. whoaaaaaaaaaaa…..
    libby’s breaking free!!! i love it!

  5. Tell me more!

  6. @jon – very funny.

    @wess – thanks for the encouragement. seriously. i trust God will indeed do so… better at least!! 🙂

    @beth – haha – you would, you CMA girl, you!

    @casey – will do – not publicly, but I will here soon. must catch up.

  7. Libby,

    I too am deeply saddened by this (I imagine very difficult) decision. May God bless your continued call and discernment.

    Faithfully,
    S

  8. @Sam – sorry, i’m going to play dumb right now – I have no idea who this is…? Help?

  9. Libby, forgive a poor baptist, what won’t they let you do?

    Also: Ah the handbook of denominations: what a pandora’s box you are.

  10. @beth – nope – not by the e-mail I see. Weird…

    @MattL – they will let me do whatever – they burned a few bridges that seem to have collapsed.

  11. So does this mean you’re joining the non-denominational denomination?! 🙂

    Keep on truckin’, libbs. No matter what, you’ve always been one of those people that makes me think… “she’s just got it.”

    Much love.

  12. Love you Libs. I am fully in support. After witnessing the drama of the past several years (even from afar), I too am convinced that this was the right decision for you. Hang in there.

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