San Francisco 'Lesbyterian' Seeking Ordination Derailed on Procedural Grounds

A San Francisco lesbian's 23-year quest to be ordained a Presbyterian minister will have to continue for God knows how much longer. While the San Francisco Presbytery in January took the monumental step of approving Noe Valley's Lisa Larges as a candidate for ordination, the church's regional commission yesterday ruled that San Francisco erred in its approval on procedural grounds.

While SF Weekly has not yet been able to obtain a copy of the eight-page, highly technical ruling, the upshot is clear: Larges' bid for ordination has been scuttled. Again.

Working through a New York-based public relations agent, Larges this morning released a statement, which is excerpted below:

“Candidates, presbyteries and committees who have sought to act

faithfully under the current constitution have only been rewarded with

challenges and allegations. This decision fosters on-going confusion

and demonstrates clearly just how unworkable the current policy is for

those seeking a fair hearing.  

More than anything, I'm

mindful of all the other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)

candidates for ministry who only want to serve our church.  The way

forward for them need not be this complicated. This ruling, though

technical in nature and limited in scope, nonetheless has deeply

personal and painful repercussions for my life and in the lives of

other LGBT people earnestly seeking to serve the church.”

SF Weekly reached Larges who helped to explain the gist of the ruling. She said the regional commission claims San Francisco's Presbytery overreached in requiring Larges to submit a “statement of conscience” — a document in which a candidate for ordination states his or her objections to tenants of the Presbyterian constitution.

This move, the commission ruled, should have been made when Larges was being considered for ordination, not when she was being considered as a candidate for ordination. Therefore, the whole process was invalidated, and Larges says “it's completely unclear” when it will start again.

Not that she's giving up: “I've been here for 23 years. What's a few more?”

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