Thanks so much for your prayers... you are wonderful. Our meeting ended without the session taking the action I requested. As I suspected it might. I was asking them to take a stretch, to do something bold in the community that could easily be viewed as political. It became clear during our conversation (about a half hour in length) that they were very divided on the issue, right down the middle. I encouraged them to speak their opinion without 'talking back' to one another; I had to restrain myself from doing that when someone on the 'other side' made a couple of statements that were pretty outlandish and mischaracterizing 'my side.'
At the end, I told them it was a wonderful discussion (it was) and that I was proud to work with them, and that it was important for us to be able to disagree without fearing that our relationships would be damaged. I then withdrew the proposal. I explained that even if it had passed by one vote, I would not have been comfortable going forward when they did not have a strong consensus. I don't know whether the folks who agreed with me were disappointed, but I'll find that out before too long, I expect.
This is such an important moment in our lives together. This church has been torn apart by factions in the past, people staking out their positions and demonizing those on the other side. I hope that everyone who left that meeting last night felt empowered to have been able to speak out and be heard with respect. I hope this can be a blueprint for other decisions to come.