Wednesday, 28 July 2010

PCUSA General Assembly, Rainbow Scarves

I've already written about the General Assembly and its decisions affecting LGBT inclusion. This report from Huffington Post, though, with its emphasis on the rainbow scarves, prompted a fresh thought: what a contrast this is to the Catholic response to the Rainbow Sash. In both churches, the significance of the sash is the same - a symbol of queer exclusion in church, and a call of full inclusion. At PCUSA, the scarves were openly worn and promoted, not openly at the GA, but also in local congregations ahead of time, preparing the way. In the Catholic Church, even among a gay worshipping community, just talking about them can promote near hysteria.
The rainbow scarves fascinated Libby Shannon. Throughout the Assembly she saw them, hanging proudly over the necks of people over the age of 70 as well as those in their 20s. Men and women wore them as a witness to their support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Libby attended the 219th General Assembly of the PC(USA) in Minneapolis, a biennial gathering of pastors and lay people who make decisions on behalf of our two million-member church, earlier this month. The gathering prays and studies together, seeking God's guidance for their work and making declarations about social justice issues that will focus our energy and mission.
I also noticed the scarves, even though I wasn't there in Minnesota. I saw them hanging from the crochet needles at our church's Wednesday night Bible study. I spotted them at our local governing meetings. Then I noticed them at the General Assembly (GA) as I watched it livestreaming over the Internet.

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