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Judy WestLee on Anita Hill's Ordination

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    CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE Judy WestLee, a co-convener of Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Concerns attended
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2001

      Judy WestLee, a co-convener of Affirmation: United Methodists for
      Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Concerns attended the
      ordination of Anita Hill last Saturday. Following is an uplifting
      message she posted to Affirmation's discussion list, reprinted with
      her permission.

      For more about this event, see CALLED OUT's archives:
      ELCA Lesbian Woman Ordained in St. Paul CORNET Sun 4/29/2001
      Anita Hill; Bishop Christopher Senyonjo CORNET Mon 4/30/2001


      April 30, 20001

      I am pleased to say I was one of the clergy taking a very small part
      of Anita Hill's service.

      Anita & her partner, along with myself & my partner Janet, belong to
      a lesbian faith professionals potluck group. [Frightening concept,
      isn't it? Thirty to 50 lesbian ministers/chaplains/nuns & their
      partners gathering periodically in Minneapolis for "pot luck" -
      Jell-O with marshmallows, wild rice casseroles, etc. a la Garrison
      Keelor] So, Anita had asked all of us clergy-types to robe & process
      for her ordination. The invitation was further extended to all clergy
      supporters. I heard they were expecting about 50 clergy to process
      Saturday. When I trotted past an usher who was counting us just
      before we entered the sanctuary ["nave"] he looked at me and said
      "Number 142 and still more coming!!!" So, I have another nickname...
      Number 142. I would guess there were about 150 clergy processing. Of
      that number about half were Lutheran.

      The Lutherans led the procession. The sanctuary is quite large, but
      Janet was seated in the auditorium as part of the overflow crowd. As
      I said, I & 5 other UMC clergy were near the end of the procession.
      Ushers were scrambling around to find folding chairs to seat us in
      the far back of the sanctuary. We processed in singing "O Praise the
      Gracious Power." I was struck by the great number of people crying as
      we went past. Even the ASL signer was whipping her eyes.

      The procession went through, looped around, the folding chairs in
      back were full, another usher motioned to we 5 UMC types and said,
      "Follow me!" Apparently they had over estimated the number of family
      who would be present and had an entire row vacant.....third from the
      alter! We felt rather special!

      Our preacher was the Rev. Michael L. Cobbler. He certainly stirred
      things up! He asked how long were we going to keep people out of an
      empty church?!? His text was Luke 5:17-26, which tells of the
      paraplegic whose friends made a hole in the roof to bring him to

      Now, friends, our beloved denomination has just started a major
      evangelism campaign which talks about "Open hearts. Open minds. Open

      My mind is just racing with ideas: "In the open front door; out the
      back door." "How open is your heart, your mind, your door?" "Open
      door but is there room in your church for us?" "If your door is open
      why must I make a hole in your roof?" "Open door but is there room in
      your empty church for us?"

      Well, you get the idea. After the ordination we clapped, shouted,
      yodeled and stamped our feet. And, yes, I think I did spot a hole in
      church roof!

      The theme of the service was "Here I Am. Here We Are." which is
      particularly apropos for Lutherans with Martin Luther's declaration:
      "Here I stand!"

      It was indeed a good day!

      Judy WestLee
      Minneapolis, MN

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