National movement for LGBT in the church holds ordination - Tucson News Now

National movement for LGBT in the church holds ordination in Tucson

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TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - The ordination of two women ministers completed a long journey for both Sunday.  That journey might have been longer than it had to be.

"It was clear to me that my choice was to go in a different direction through Church Within a Church," said Rev. Robyn Morrison after her ordination that was hosted by St. Mark's Presbyterian Church.

She said that she stopped her Methodist ordination process because her daughter, Kelsen Young, wouldn't be accepted in the church as a lesbian.

"I'm incredibly thankful that my mom has been willing to take a stand and stand up for who I am and not be part of a system that would oppress me and my friends," Young said.

"To be part of an organization that honors the relationship of two people, that honors the call of the person being ordained, is wonderful," said Sarah Celec.

She watched her wife, Rev. Delyn Celec, be ordained by the Church Within a Church movement.  Rev. Celec said that the Methodist church would not allow her to be a minister in a lesbian relationship.

"There are policies created by people, they're not created by God, that do not permit those to be called to necessarily be fulfilled," Rev. Celec said.

"We are doing things that we know the church will be doing in the future, but we're doing them now.  But you've got to do them now to show that they can work," said Rev. Kevin Johnson, a Methodist minister who cannot practice within the Methodist church because he is gay.  Rev. Johnson practices with the United Church of Christ.

While they try to create change, a University of Arizona study will seek answers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth suicide rates, which are higher than those of straight youth.

"I think we know that it's going to have to do with school, it's going to do with home, it's going to do with faith communities, it's going to do with the larger community kids live in," said Stephen Russell, Ph.D.

Dr. Russell, a professor of family studies and community development at the U of A, will be part of the four year study of about twelve hundred LGBT youth to find what triggers suicidal feelings in them and how to correct that.

"Basically, I want to identify the top ten things we can do better to help kids feel better and be successful," Dr. Russell said.

The Church Within a Church movement showed Sunday that others are working for change, also.

"I think it's important that we let young people know that there is hope, there is a person who's going to listen to you," Rev. Celec said.

Church Within a Church is a national movement and people from all over the country attended the service either in person or online.  St. Mark's hosted the ordination because the Presbyterian Church already accepts gay and lesbian ministers.

Rev. Celec will return to Virginia.  Rev. Morrison will go to Portland, OR.

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