Her Biography: For Lisa Larges, the call to serve the church came at an early age. Following graduation from St. Olaf College in 1985, she began studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo CA. She graduated with honors receiving her M.Div. in 1989.
A lifelong Presbyterian, Lisa became a candidate for ministry in the Twin Cities Presbytery (a regional governing body in the Presbyterian Church) in 1986. Because she felt as a matter of conscience that she could not serve the church without being open and honest about her identity as a lesbian, Lisa “came out” to the Twin Cities committee overseeing candidates in 1991. The Twin Cities Presbytery affirmed her call to ministry as an open lesbian, and that affirmation was overturned in 1992 by a ruling from the highest judicial court in the Presbyterian Church. Lisa remained a candidate for ministry and in 1997 asked and was approved to have her candidacy transferred to the Presbytery of San Francisco, as she had remained in the Bay Area following her seminary graduation.
In the ‘90s, Lisa was active with Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns (now More Light Presbyterians) and developed a story-telling and theater project called “Witnness for Reconciliation” promoting dialogue about the lives and faith of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbt) Presbyterians.
In 2002 she was called to serve as the Regional Partnership Coordinator with That All May Freely Serve, working with the 8 regions that had been developed across the country. Upon the retirement of their founding Minister Director, the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr, Lisa became the Minister Coordinator in August of 2007.
Lisa has continued to seek ordination to Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Churchsince 1986. In a groundbreaking decision the Presbytery of San Francisco approved Lisa to move forward in the Ordination process, in November of 2009. At that time, a compromise policy within the Presbyterian Church gave Presbyteries some flexibility in considering out lgbt candidates, and allows candidates to make a statement of conscience regarding the church’s constitutional barrier to ordination. In her statement Larges wrote: “The provision is a mar upon the Church and a stumbling block to its mission.”
The action of the Presbytery to approve Lisa for Ordination was then tied up in the Presbyterian Judicial system for another 3 years. In that time, the denomination adopted an amendment to its Constitution removing all barriers to ordination for all who are called and qualified regardless of orientation or gender identity.
The highest court in the Presbyterian system issued it’s final decision, giving the go-ahead to Lisa’s ordination in May of 2012. Lisa now makes her home back in Minneapolis where she is a part of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church. She frequently preaches at area churches and has been the invited preacher at several national conferences.