Sue Laurie is Being Ordained in Portland!

Sue Laurie sent the following letter to friends and colleagues around the country, inviting them to her ordination at the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon coming up in May. If you are not able to stand with Sue physically in Portland, but would like to participate in Sue’s ordination, please read through the entire invitation to the end. There are directions for writing and sending good wishes and affirmations of Sue’s ministry among us.

March 28, 2016
Dear Friends,
As we have known each other for many years, you know my sense of commitment to my calling as a pastor. You may be surprised to realize that I graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with my Master of Divinity degree over twenty years ago. Wow.

You have been significant in my journey as I continue to pursue this vocation. Over the years I have officiated at baptisms and communion tables. It has been my privilege to preside at weddings and holy unions for lesbian, gay and “straight” couples. I have spoken at funerals. I have begun small “house churches” for LGBT people who often cannot find welcoming church family. “BYKOTA” gathered folks together in NW Pennsylvania, “Rainbow Circle” gathered people in the NW suburbs of Chicago. In ordinary and significant ways, we have been church for one another.

These times spent with you have helped me to claim my identity as a pastor within community. I am writing to let you know that I regard our shared times as sacred. I am humbled by your trust and appreciation. I am grateful for each one. These moments defy the reality that people like me are not “ordainable” by United Methodist law. I feel that I have been ordained over and over.

In twenty five years of ministry, I have spoken in many places about God’s love for all people. I have stressed the inclusion of LGBT people within the full life of the church in my travels for Reconciling Ministries Network. I have been present in wonderful moments of hope and love. I have also felt the great tension within the church against LGBT people. I have been the target of mean-spirited dismissal. With time for reflection you may have heard me say, “I have had a lot of adventures.” 🙂

I was not called by God for the institution of the United Methodist Church. I was called for people. I have felt the Holy Spirit in my adventures… they have been worth my life. Through your invitation to participate in church family life, I have felt encouraged. So much so, that I have realized that it is time for me to publicly claim the ministry you all have granted to me.

At the United Methodist General Conference in Portland this May, with those who wish to affirm me, I will claim and celebrate my ordination… I will let go of the institutional rejection and celebrate the authority that so many have offered, a grassroots ordination as Rev. Susan Laurie. I will “come out” as ordained and take up the responsibilities of one who has been called and affirmed for ministry. My adventures are my credentials.

Today, I am inviting you to participate. If you would like, please send me your memory or thought;

“One memory I want to share as evidence of the Spirit in celebration
of Susan Laurie’s ordination is…”

These are treasures of heart and soul that have been the fuel of my resiliency for all these years.

May God continue to bless our hope and love,

Sue Laurie, MDiv

  1. There are two versions of this invitation, keep reading…

I am celebrating my ordination at General Conference!

Love Prevails will help me with the ceremony. And you are invited to participate. I would like the first ring of people who can be present in Portland to be openly LGBT folk and from there everyone is welcome. We may be a small crowd that day, but that will be enough. Jesus did say, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20.

Yet, we are not a small in number – we are part of a larger cloud of witnesses, United Methodists even, who have continually offered an understanding of God’s inclusive love for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Of course, most people cannot get to Portland to stand with us physically, but you can be part of this moment… this time when our public witness of an open communion reveals that LGBT people are already on both sides of table; clergy and laity, pastors and people.

How to participate: Send in your good wishes or an affirmation of my ministry:

Sue, I have seen the Holy Spirit at work when you _____________________________________.
or

I remember when _______________________________________________________________.
or simply,

Yes, count me as one of the ordaining cloud of witnesses! I send my prayers for continued ministry. _______________________________________________________________________________..

If you send your name and address, I will send a note after General Conference.

Name              _____________________________ email ___________________
Street address _____________________________
City, State       _________________________ ZIP code ________

_______         I remain anonymous. You know, it can be dangerous out here.

You are a treasure to me. I am so grateful for the foundation of Christian teaching that I received as a child and the gracious, committed witness of love and grace that has constantly been part of my life as an adult. So many venues, so many friends and teachers. Thank you.

Please send your thoughts to:
Sue Laurie                                          or         suelaurie432@gmail.com
PO Box 480244
Niles, IL 60714                                            

   “Friend” the Love Prevails Facebook page for updates

Finally, I offer a favorite: John 14: 25-27   and another: 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 26    

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9 thoughts on “Sue Laurie is Being Ordained in Portland!

  1. I was Sue and Julie’s neighbor for many years, and we were also members of the same church. I remember many things from their Edinboro days, but one thing in particular stands out is how much they cared for their fellow Boroites. Both Sue and Julie were active in our church and our community. Just one of the many acts of kindness and compassion I recall, is how Sue acted as a mentor for children that needed a positive role model. She offered them love, support, and kindness in a nonjudgmental atmosphere – something they desperately needed.

    In closing, I want to express how happy I am that Sue is being ordained. This day has been a long time coming! Now, she can ‘officially’ do what she has been doing for many years – spreading the word that God loves us all!

    Congratulations and God bless!

  2. You are ordained by the loving God. You received complete ad free grace at your Baptism. You presence and words have motivated people. You have spoken out when many have abided by the current standing of don’t ask don’t tell has been practiced by many including myself. I was outed in Texas accidentally by a PBS magazine in Dallas when I was a campus minister for the Greater Dallas of Churches Community College Ministry College Monistry and recently came out as an openly gay United Methodist Monistercame out in the Chicago Tribune. You have loved kindness, and done justice and walked humbly with your God who sees you as his beloved prophet and apostle. Blessed to know you.

  3. Dear Pastor Sue,
    Dwight and I rejoice that you are claiming your ordination–you have been doing faithful ministry for years–certainly since the first year you used a sabbatical from teaching math to attend Garrett-Evangelical Seminary. We have been blessed by your strength, your faithfulness, and your willingness to be grace-full even in the face of hatred and fear. God blesses you and Julie!
    With our love and many prayers,
    Linda & Dwight Vogel
    Professors Emerita/Emeritus
    Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

  4. Pingback: On Why I Do This – Sue Laurie | Love Prevails

  5. As I await your arrival in Portland, I think back on the previous General Conferences where you were a pillar of strength, willing to be used as a witness of God’s ever loving presence and joy of how you were created. I remember how you spontaneously stepped forward at General Conference in Cleveland, Ohio spoke scripture and then served communion during the lunch break to those of us who remained after yet another painful, not yet loving vote against the affirmation of LGBT clergy on the GC floor. I remember in Texas how you resented having to use your marriage to Julie as a statement to the church rather than just a statement to your friends and family of your love for your life partner, Julie. But you did it with grace anyway. You have always loved and fought for full inclusion of all of God’s children in a denomination that you are rooted in that has not always loved you back. You will go through the motions of ordination tomorrow, my dear Sue, but many of us have seen, felt, received, and are in awe of the powerful and grace filled person you are, full of passion for the gift of ordination that you have been sharing for much of your life.

  6. Sue,
    You have been a pastor and a friend of mine for many years. You were a pastor to me when I was starting an open and affirming UMC and I didn’t know where to turn for help. You have been a faithful colleague to me when I have wanted to give-up and I saw no hope in ministry.

    I celebrate with you your ordination and call from God to ordained ministry. I am sorry I will not be able to be present at your ordination. Blessings on your day and continued ministry!

  7. Sue was one of the first people to help me see that my sexual orientation and my interest in faith did not have to be mutually exclusive. She has been a wonderful example and mentor for many years.

    She helped to officiate at our commitment ceremony almost 10 years ago and truly helped to fill that space with God and God’s love.

    I’m so excited that she is fulfilling this calling; only saddened that the UMC still refuses to recognize the gifts of so many who are called.

  8. Sue,

    We have seen the Holy Spirit at work when you preach, when you coordinate a church rummage sale, when you provide pastoral care for people in our congregation, and when you lead us in singing for our lives as gentle, angry people.

    We remember when you and Julie invested yourselves in cultivating the faith lives of the children in our congregation. Our son, Zeke, recently named you as two of the people having the most significant influence in his faith life.

    Yes, count us as part of the ordaining cloud of witnesses. You have shown ample evidence of your call to ministry. Your call has been affirmed time and again by the faith communities in which you have provided gentle, loving, grace-filled leadership.You have shown the gifts and grace for ordained ministry one-hundred times over. And you have shown effectiveness in your ministry.

    We send our prayers for your continued ministry. May the One True God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Mother of us all–continue to bless you to be a blessing to others (Gen 12:2).

    Peace,
    the Rev. Dr. Darryl and Deaconess Myka Stephens

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