Dear members of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church,
As you all know there will be denominational vote on this Sunday (March 2nd). According to the church's leadership, one of the main reasons for seeking dismissal is their desire to own all of MPPC's property which currently belongs to PCUSA. While this may be true, it is important to note that in 2011 the majority of presbyteries in PCUSA voted to allow the ordination of gay clergy. Just months after in January of 2012 ECO was formed. While ECO's stance on gay clergy is hard to dissect it seems the timing of its formation seems like more than a coincidence. The information posted on its website is rather vague but it suggests that those who are not married opposite-sex couples are expected to remain celibate. When I contacted Nicole Laubscher, the communications director, she said that the reason for joining ECO was" We to help people become followers of Jesus Christ. Changing to another denomination gives MPPC the best opportunity to fulfill its calling as a church".
When I brought op the topic of sexuality she said, "human sexuality is a vitally important facet of life, and conversations about it will and should continue long after the vote, but it is not related to the issue of MPPC's denominational affiliation". While this may be the case it is important to note that while gay clergy may not be the reason for the split amendment 10-A which permits gay clergy is not included in ECO's documents. She continues, "We are a church with congregants who hold a wide range of views on many issues, and we value that. We can only stay on mission by focusing on what holds us together, which our faith in God. And we can only make the right decision for our church's affiliation by staying focused on our core reason for change, which is to best fulfill our mission". I don't know if this is just me but it seems like Ms. Laubscher is saying that we should only focus on our faith in God and not the issues at hand. When God, loves all people and would not stand for such distasteful discrimination. She continues to say that, "we [the church] believe in human rights for everyone of all sexual orientations, ethnicities, ages, genders, backgrounds, and everyone is welcome to be part of our church to learn about Jesus". What is seems like she is saying is that all are welcome but, property ownership is more important that human rights and human dignity. Its worth discriminating against people, and sending a terrible message to our children in order to gain property ownership. While I don't think that gay clergy is MPPC's main reasons for dismissal, it is important to remember that it is part of the package.
Furthermore, throughout the entire process almost no specific information was available to members. I attended multiple town hall meetings and learned virtually nothing about ECO. I then decided to look on their website where I was faced with the same vague message. I would have little problem with ECO passing if members were informed about all of the specifics regarding ECO's beliefs and polices. But they wean't and that's why I writing this article. I think members deserve to know what they are voting for. So if you have any questions regarding ECO please email MPPC leaders and ask your questions so that this Sunday you will be an informed voter. I understand that I have said some controversial things but I just wanted to make sure that I got some necessary information across. So when you arrive at the vote on Sunday, come informed and stand up for what you believe in.
Monica Dhandapani Mallon
Sophomore at Woodside Priory School