By Rev. Heidi Peterson and Trice Gibbons, More Light Presbyterians
Michael Adee departing MLP for Global LGBT Faith Project & Patrick Evans hired as Interim Executive Director
It all began with one Presbyterian minister in 1974 when Rev. David Sindt held up that iconic sign, "Is Anybody Else Out There Gay?" at the General Assembly. More Light Presbyterians was born and for 38 years has been working for LGBT justice. We celebrate and give thanks to God that ordination equality for qualified LGBT persons was achieved when 10-A passed on May 10, 2011. We're working to sustain this ordination policy and achieve marriage equality at the 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh, June 30 - July 7. Together we're building a Church that reflects God's heart.
More Light Presbyterians was an all-volunteer organization from 1974 to 1999. In 1999, we hired our first staff person, Michael J. Adee. Michael often says that he was "loved back to faith by Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church," a More Light church in Cincinnati. He was the first openly gay Elder there and began his involvement with MLP as a volunteer in 1991. When we hired him in 1999, it was a 2 year contract per our budget at that time. Because of your financial support and spiritual partnership, 2 years grew into 13. We give thanks for all the ways MLP has grown during this time. We're grateful for your ongoing support.
Michael has received a new mission and call to create an international pro-LGBT faith project through the Horizons Foundation, San Francisco. He completes his service with MLP on July 31. He starts this new global LGBT faith project on September 1. "In profound ways, MLP, his work within the PCUSA, and the ecumenical welcoming movement have prepared Michael for this new mission. All of us are launching him into this global arena of LGBT justice and equality work from a faith perspective," Trice Gibbons, Co-Moderator.
"We give thanks to God for Michael's passionate commitment and work for the Church to embrace LGBT persons and their families as it should have been all along. He's been a gift to us and the PCUSA for these 13 years on staff and the 21 years of his MLP service. He's traveled the country visiting countless churches, colleges and seminaries. His wholehearted belief, teaching and preaching that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be good news for all persons has inspired thousands of Presbyterians. Michael has taken himself lightly and this message seriously. Being gay, Christian and Presbyterian is a natural combination in him. We will not ever forget his big heart, gentle spirit, engaging laugh, fierce advocacy and deep faith," Rev. Heidi Peterson, Co-Moderator.
We are excited and grateful to announce that Patrick Evans will be serving as our interim Executive Director starting on June 15. This gives transition time for MLP. Patrick has been serving on the MLP Board and just completed teaching at Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. He is Artist-in-Residence at Broadway Presbyterian Church, New York City. He received his Doctor of Music degree from Florida State University. Patrick has been actively involved with MLP for 14 years.
"MLP has been a transformational part of my journey, from my first GA in 1998, through years of serving as a liaison to the YADs, through worship and work as we all imagined a Church as gracious as the wideness of God's mercy. We are living in a new era of justice for LGBT people in the PCUSA which we celebrate with rolled-up sleeves as this brings both opportunities and challenges. I've been honored to serve on the MLP board and look forward to serving as your interim Executive Director during this season of new beginnings. We all owe a great debt to Michael for his years of labor, love, and much more light, and we honor his leadership by recommitting ourselves to the struggle for justice in both Church and civil society," Patrick Evans.
"I have loved serving with all of you. I've been able to bring my faith and my activism together in this sacred work of God's grace, love and justice. I've had the gift and blessing of meeting extraordinary people and churches. I would not be in the Church, any church, if not for MLP. I give thanks to God to have lived long enough to see ordination policy change in the PCUSA. Seeing LGBT persons being ordained and called to serve openly is a gift beyond my wildest imaginations as a gay Presbyterian kid growing up in south Louisiana. What I was taught in that small Presbyterian church then is as true now: we're all God's children and one human family," Michael J. Adee.
We imagine many of you will want to send a note to Michael to thank him for his 21 years of MLP service and a note to Patrick upon this new position with MLP. You can do so online here:
All of our MLP staff, Michael Adee, Patrick Evans, Antony Hebblethwaite, Susan Robertson will be in Pittsburgh along with our GA Team. After GA, the Board will begin a mission study that will inform a national search for a permanent Executive Director. We would be grateful for your prayers. For those of you who will be at GA, we look forward to seeing you in Pittsburgh. Together we're building a Church that reflects God's heart.
Learn more about More Light Presbyterians
Image courtesy of More Light Presbyterians