A church trial begins today. Amy De Long, one of our pastors, performed a same-sex marriage and openly proclaimed her personal relationship with a female partner. She did so in the context of a church that has not accepted either condition as “appropriate” of a United Methodist clergy-person. And so we move forward with a church trial to decide her professional (but not her vocational) future. Amy has done what she believes in her heart and conscience is the right and just thing to do. Many agree with her; many do not. But setting aside the “issues” for a moment, a child of God, a sister-in-Christ, and a member of the family of humankind is going through a stressful and excruciating process of having not only her conduct, but her very personhood judged by the church she feels called to serve. I don’t care what an individual might feel about sexual orientation and the vagaries of human sexuality in general. I care little at the moment about the legalism of the Book of Discipline and a church that runs its most important business by parliamentary procedure law rather than Spirit-filled grace. What I care most about is that our Christian family is broken and that we are seeking ways to amputate limbs from our body. I am saddened that we cannot openly and honestly state our disagreement and discomfort, then commit to finding a way through, together. I have been praying regularly since last night and I will pray for grace, healing, harmony, kindness, mercy, justice, and generosity throughout the three days of trial. I invite any and all who love God and hold hope for our church to pray as well. This is not a time for posturing or debate; it is not a time to do further damage, but to ask that God’s grace might abound and be felt by all.