To provide future pastors with support like David received during his process, please visit our Indiegogo campaign and donate to the retreat today. On January 5th, 2014 I became the first openly gay man to be ordained by the Presbytery of Philadelphia. When I kneeled to be ordained, I thought, How on earth am I going to live up to the promises I just made? And then I felt the hands of my mentors, pastors, friends and colleagues in ministry surround me. I knew powerfully the blessings and presence of the Holy Spirit. I remembered I was not in this alone; I had Christ beside me, the church surrounding me. Later that night I turned my phone back on, and saw the long list of messages of support and blessings from the folks I know through the LGBTQ Future Pastors Retreat. The great cloud of witnesses that surrounded me that night knew no boundaries.
God has done a new thing with the LGBTQ Future Pastors Retreat. Last year, when we gathered around the dinning room tables at our retreat center, we started having conversations about Alums. As in, what happens when you get ordained? We were so excited. The “Future Pastors” were starting to become Pastors! But how? What were the challenges going to be? Who would help us when we got stuck, or were confused, or found ourselves in situations where we felt alone and scared?
The professional relationships I have formed through the LGBTQ Future Pastors Retreat are precious to me. I find myself reaching out to different members of the community, and I look forward to many years of serving God’s people alongside such talented and passionate colleagues. This retreat equips future pastors to fulfill their promise to “be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of God’s Word and Spirit.”
God is calling LGBTQ people to be Pastors, but they can’t do it alone. They need friends among their colleagues. They need congregants and friends across the nation who support them. They need you and I. The promises they will make when they are ordained, they can’t fulfill them without God’s help and the fellowship of the Church. They need our prayers, fellowship, and the offering of our financial resources to be able to bring all of who they are to the challenges and opportunities the Church faces. Presbyterian Welcome helped me become aware of the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds me. I can think of no greater gift for future Pastors.
Rev. David Norse graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in May of 2013 and now serves as a Pastoral Associate at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia where his ministry focuses on pastoral care and extending radical hospitality to the most vulnerable adults in the city. A child of the Pacific Northwest, he grew up at Tualatin Presbyterian Church in Tualatin, Oregon, and has spent a significant amount of time working in outdoor ministries, including a season with the Iona Communities outdoor centre on the Western Island of Mull in Scotland.