Many of you know that Christopher Lucas Liz Perlman and I have been following Mary Ann Barclay‘s journey towards ordination. A finer candidate for minister, I cannot imagine from her personal strength to her in depth understanding of Weslyan Theology. Plus, she’s just awesome. I don’t know how all of you feel about organized religion. I find much of it very problematic and painful to negotiate even as I recognize a deep spiritual resonance in many communities that I’ve met (secular and non). But I recognize what can only be called “spirit” in Mary Ann as well as her partner Annanda. Call it social justice. Call it Buddha. Call it love, service, leadership, but my lord, call it what it is, a gift.
So Chris, Liz and I have been filming and documenting the process she’s gone through, and today we were out in Kerrville waiting for the decision. We couldn’t be with her but we witnessed such powerful community and fellowship, love and compassion from morning until we left to drive home. Bearing witness and providing space for this story to be heard, seen, it’s important. She is a minister and nothing can actually stop that. She lives her faith in the world, and no title will change that. She has, as they say in the church, a prophetic voice and nothing will silence it.
She is a model for living authentically and frankly, in my opinion, embodying God in the world from her love to her partner, to the service she provides others, and the message she brings. The church is truly behind, but then looking back at history, institutions usually are. The NFL seems to get it, I’m not sure why the Methodist church can’t.
As she notes in this piece, it’s not the end. It’s most certainly not. And we hope to document what goes forward because her story, like so many before her, so many happening now right now, so many LGBT youth being cast out, not able to marry or be ordained or be in fully community, those stories are sacred texts.
Regardless of your belief system, I hope you’ll continue to#standwithmaryann
“The only recognizable feature of hope is action.”
― Grace Paley