The following is a prayer written by Jess Cook of More Light Presbyterians (MLP). We point to their prayer in an effort to highlight the writings of MLP and to share their wealth of resources with others who may not know about their work within the PC(USA). Please take advantage of these rich liturgical resources and share them in your congregations. Jess’ full bio is below.
God of our baptism,
We thank you for the ways in which you claim us as your own. We thank you for this community, for your Spirit woven through each of us individually and drawing us together as a whole.
God, we thank you that before N was born, you knew what you had in store for them. You knew as you knit them in their parent’s womb, all of the challenges and celebrations that would come in their life. You knew there would be a time when they would answer the call to share this part of their identity with this community. We thank you for N’s desire and willingness to invite us along this exciting part of their journey, and we celebrate with them today.
We pray that you would help N see the mighty shoulders on which they stand, of all the ____________ (use the identity the person has shared – gay/lesbian/bi/trans/non-binary/qeer) saints who’ve come before and paved the way and opened doors to this moment.
Like Lazarus being called out of the tomb, or Mary Magdalene whose eyes were opened to the resurrected Christ upon hearing her name, we know you have called N’s name and claimed them as your own.
When things get difficult, remind N of this community who loves them and has promised to walk through life with them. May the people who surround N today be a source of nourishment for them alone this journey – a reminder that they are not alone on their path. In a world where most people go their whole lives without asking questions about their gender or sexuality, remind N of the strength and resilience they’ve shown in claiming their beloved identity as their own.
We pray that you would open the eyes and the hearts of family or friends who may not have as much joy in N coming out as we have here today. If the need is there, may you remind N that family is not just defined by blood, and community is not only defined by space or time.
Remind N always that they are seen by this community. Continue opening our eyes and our hearts to one another. Keep us all grounded in the understanding that we are loved beyond measure by a God of infinite abundance.
Written and Shared with Permission by Jess Cook, Copyright More Light Presbyterians, 2018
Gender pronouns: they/them/theirs
Jess Cook is the Programs and Communication Manager for More Light Presbyterians. Jess is also a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA). A native of East Texas and lifelong Presbyterian, Jess holds a Master of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary, a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Baylor.
Prior to joining MLP, Jess was the Youth Programs Director at Side by Side, an organization in Richmond, VA serving LGBTQIA+ youth. While at Side by Side, Jess worked with hundreds of young people through support groups, a leadership program, and various programs in the community. They created a parent support group and a meals program, and trained a wide variety of faith community leaders and service providers on best practices for working with LGBTQIA+ youth.
Jess’s call is to help facilitate spaces where reconciliation is possible, with the acknowledgement that reconciliation is only possible if we are able to be honest with ourselves and one another about the ways in which we are broken. True reconciliation requires relationships, and relationships require trust and vulnerability. Jess sees their role as helping make spaces where that vulnerability is celebrated and trust can be built.
Jess loves poetry, liturgy, sharing meals, and pretty much any conversation about the ways we see the Spirit come to life in the world. They live in Richmond, VA with their lively toddler and dog.