Recently, a 4th-year seminarian named S. Vance Goodman wrote an open letter to her denomination, sharing her story of clear calling and training for ordained ministry.
She describes being tired.
Having been a youth director with a heart for people, she served as a missionary in Bolivia for two years. Throughout her seminary career, she has been affirmed as an excellent preacher and was elected leader of the student association. Committed to a career path of service within her beloved UMC, she has been affirmed enthusiastically by pretty much everyone who has seen her in action.
But– and you knew this was coming- she is tired now. There is presently a line or two in the Book of Discipline she has a problem with. Or more pointedly, has a problem with her. She resigned from the candidacy process when she realized her integrity would not allow her to continue on the ordination track.
“I am denied to utilize my sacred worth in leadership. I am gay, and that one fact keeps me from the ministry to which I feel led.”
“Although I was once a certified candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church, I am graduating from theology school as a highly educated, theologically minded lay person who feels pushed to the margin.”
I am grateful for S. Vance Goodman’s willingness to engage her denomination. To not slip out the back door. Her voice is an important one influencing all denominations of the Christian church to awaken and evolve.
I hope to have coffee with her when we tour Texas next month, to thank her in person.