Julie Taylor Green

Ruling Elder, Ordained 1992.

I am a cradle Presbyterian, currently a member of Morningside Presbyterian Church, a welcoming and inclusive congregation where I serve as choir member and food pantry worker.  I was brought up in the church with warm memories of being raised “by the village-congregation” — as life in small towns is centered around the church.  My Aunt was the organist, my Grandmother a ‘pillar’ and founder of Presbyterian Women.  My sister is now an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament serving a church in Virginia.

As a young married woman with a family, I wanted my daughters to have the same church grounding and powerful experiences I had had.  They attended Sunday school and youth meetings; I sang in the choir, served on the pastor search committee, was ordained an elder, and chaired the worship committee.  But there was a dark place – an unresolved longing in my life.  I turned to God “who makes all things new” to fill the void and surround us with loving care.  After struggling for several years I came out to my dear husband and best friend, then to our daughters.  We separated households but not lives.  Time passed and Ben remarried.  Our daughters have grown into beautiful, gracious, broadminded women. And I have been building a life with Mardee Rightmyer for 14 years.

Perhaps the most touching reminder of God’s love and renewal came through Ben.  He asked Mardee and me to come to North Decatur Presbyterian Church the Sunday that he was to be ordained as an elder – not just as witnesses, but to be the two people invited to come forward to stand with him and lay-on-hands.  This was a tangible reminder that we are part of the reformed and reforming world where God indeed makes all things new.

This has not been true for my daughters.  The younger generation who has lived through G-6.0106b and watched people they love struggle to live faithfully in a church that has dismissed their gifts and even denied their church affiliation, has left the church they deem unprincipled. Even with the repeal, my daughters feel they cannot be part of the larger church that limits scripture and is more interested in contentious intra-church quarrels rather than doing the work of God.

Reformed and reforming – still hopeful for the future generations that will be the church.

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