August 20, 2008
Dear Friends and Friends of Friends,
I am Janet Edwards, a Presbyterian minister in Pittsburgh, PA. I greet you with
the joy that springs from Jesus' gospel of love!
On June 25, 2005, I was blessed beyond measure to preside at the
Spirit-filled wedding of Nancy McConn and Brenda Cole. Following the usual
practice, Brenda and Nancy placed an announcement of their marriage in the
Celebrations section of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The announcement included
all that we expect in such notices: a picture of the couple, a list of the
wedding party and a brief description of me as the officiant. This public
disclosure of my pastoral act has led to a trial under the disciplinary rules of
my church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
I understand my calling from God to be a “pray-er,” to devote myself to
prayer without ceasing. So I am shocked myself that my life's work has placed me
at the very heart of the long-stewing debate that engages the whole world on the
place of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in our community.
Perhaps we can all agree that we, in the church, are not very good at
talking about our differing views on the inclusion of GLBT people in marriage.
We keep a stony silence or throw accusations — and this is why my trial becomes
such a gift from God. It is an opportunity for the different sides in the church
to lay out their positions for ourselves and the world to see, to think about,
to pray about, to talk about.
This is why I want the world to come to this trial, participate in the
conversation and worship around it. Please come.
Here is the way to do it:
The trial will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, October 1, 2008, at the Grand
Hall of the Priory, 614 Pressley Street , Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Just call All Directions,
412.566.1710, say you want to come to the trial and they will plan your trip. If
you are able to give the time to come, we are able to arrange your travel and
stay in Pittsburgh.
To start a dialogue now, I invite you to read an overview of the brief I have
submitted to the Permanent Judicial Commission of my presbytery called an Apologia in preparation for the trial. Whether you come to the trial or not, thank you for giving my
position your prayerful consideration.
May the peace of Christ be always with you,
Rev. Janet McCune Edwards
P.S. Please watch this video to get to know me and why I am reaching out