Nathan Sobers

Ruling Elder, ordained 1996. 

I’ve always felt a call to some sort of ministry within the church, but I never thought that God’s call would include ordination.

For many years, I accepted the second class status imposed on me, simply due to the fact that I am a gay man.  That changed in the fall of 1995, when the chair of our congregation’s nominating committee asked me out for coffee.  “We’d like you to serve on Session,” she said.  My initial response was “oh no, I can’t!”  Then this very wise woman, who had watched me grow and mature over the 5 years I had been a member of the church, replied, “God calls who God calls, who are you to say no?”  How do you respond to a statement like that, except to say “here I am Lord, yes, I’ll serve.”

Fast forward to 2008.  I was comfortably ensconced in the role of a leader in my small, inner city congregation.  They had been totally accepting of my partner and me. Some of the more liberal folks in the Presbytery knew about me, but I was flying under the radar, safe and secure.  Life was good. I wasn’t too interested in getting involved at Presbytery, I had taken my turn as an Elder Commissioner, but wasn’t all that interested in the politics.

That changed when the 2008 GA passed Amendment B.  I had heard the horror stories of folks just like me, who wanted nothing more than a chance to answer God’s call to serve God and the church, being brought up on charges and having their ordinations stripped away.  I couldn’t stay silent and safe, any longer.  I became actively involved in the campaign to pass Amendment B, which culminated in me coming out on the floor of Presbytery during debate.  I thank God that God gave me the strength and courage to take that step!

As a result of my decision to fully acknowledge who I am to the entire Presbytery, I was asked to serve on the board of More Light Presbyterians in the fall of 2010. Again, I thought “oh no!  I can’t.”  Then those wise words from my dear friend echoed in my mind — “God calls who God calls, who are you to say no?”  Again, the only answer I could make was “here I am Lord, yes I will serve.”

Since the fall of 2011, I have had the honor and privilege of serving as co-moderator of the board of More Light Presbyterians.  In 2013, I began a certificate program at Whitworth University for a Certificate of Lay Ministry.  Do I know where God is calling me next?  No, but I do know that the only answer I can give is “here I am Lord, yes I will serve.”

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