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Minnesota Pastor Honors Past and Present Love

Rev. Dr. Robyn Provis works for marriage equality, but it's her efforts in suicide prevention that have made her a local hero. Sponsored by Grape-Nuts.

About this sponsorship: In honor of the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic ascent of Mount Everest, Patch and Grape-Nuts are teaming up to highlight those who inspire people around them to climb their own mountains.

When the news of the passage of the marriage equity bill by the Minnesota House of Representatives reached Rev. Dr. Robyn Provis, the first person she wanted to share it with was her wife of nearly eight years, Kathy Luebbe.

Provis and Luebbe were married in Toronto, Canada, and for years she says they have played a game on road trips of “Now we’re legally married. Whoops, now we’re not.”

The long road to marriage equity mirrors the journey Rev. Dr. Robyn Provis has taken professional and personally to arrive where she is today, pastor of Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and married to Kathy, a music teacher. Provis returned to college at age 45 after having a first career in journalism and advertising.

After receiving her Master of Theological Studies in 2003 from the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA, she earned her doctorate in 2010 from the Episcopal Divinity School of Cambridge, MA.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you've taken right now?

I love life and I love to push myself by taking on multiple simultaneous goals. Currently I am the pastor of a diverse church where I am devoted to caring for the congregation and neighborhood. I believe the good news of the gospel isn’t good news until its good news for everyone. I have a deep belief in the centrality of the instruction to “love one another.” I don’t want to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I’d rather talk about the joy they were feeling that gave way to the dance. My hope is that all faiths can stop fighting over who is in and who is out and get down to alleviating poverty, discrimination, and hopelessness.

The two areas that inspire me the most are marriage equality and suicide prevention. Those may be disparate topics but they are important to me.   

Q.What inspired you to take on this challenge?

I lost my son Jeremiah to suicide when he was 26 years old a decade ago. I will advocate for prevention and anti-bullying until my dying day.

Marriage equality is at the top of my list. Love is love. One day we’ll look back and try to tell our grandchildren why it took so long.

Q.What will you do when you succeed?

I will weep with joy. I’ll know we’ve succeeded when it’s never again a topic of conversation. I look forward to that perfect day, thankful that love and reason prevailed.

Mike B. May 13, 2013 at 07:12 PM
I will take exception to the pastor's comments. Rather than telling "our grandchildren why it took so long," we should be telling our grandchildren that marriage is between a man and woman only, as specifically outlined in the Bible. And that furthermore, homosexual relations are a grievous sin against God. And that reparative therapy has been shown to be effective to address any such urges from Satan himself.
Jen Maloney May 14, 2013 at 11:32 AM
I only have two things to say; First thing is, Cory YOU ROCK! Second is, Mike, I'll help both you and Michelle Bachmann pack!
Mike K. May 14, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Where is the tolerance for people who do not agree with you? I will not run. I will stay and stand up for my beliefs. I have lived here all my life and will continue to do so. I hope you don't mind.
Mike Schoemer (Editor) May 14, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Cory's comment has been deleted due to violation of our terms of use. We do not allow profanity (or reference to it) directed at other users in our comments.
Dan Johnson May 14, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Mike B. lies about science again, as usual. So called "reparative therapy" has not been shown to be effective. It has been shown to be harmful. It relies heavily on religious based shame and guilt, often resulting in self destructive behavior.
Dan Johnson May 14, 2013 at 03:44 PM
American Medical Association: "opposes, the use of "reparative" or "conversion" therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation" AMA Policy Regarding Sexual Orientation [AMA]
Dan Johnson May 14, 2013 at 03:46 PM
American Counseling Association Ethics Committee: A counselor only provides treatment that is scientifically indicated to be effective or has a theoretical framework supported by the profession. Otherwise, counselors inform clients that the treatment is "unproven" or "developing" and provide an explanation of the "potential risks and ethical considerations of using such techniques/procedures and take steps to protect clients from possible harm" (Standard C.6.e., "Scientific Bases for Treatment Modalities"). Considering all the above deliberation, the ACA Ethics Committee strongly suggests that ethical professional counselors do not refer clients to someone who engages in conversion therapy or, if they do, to proceed cautiously only when they are certain that the referral counselor fully informs clients of the unproven nature of the treatment and the potential risks and takes steps to minimize harm to clients (also see Standard A.2.b., "Types of Information Needed"). This information also must be included in written informed consent material by those counselors who offer conversion therapy despite ACA's position and the Ethics Committee's statement in opposition to the treatment. To do otherwise violates the spirit and specifics of the ACA Code of Ethics. Exploring ethical issues related to conversion or reparative therapy [ACA]
Dan Johnson May 14, 2013 at 03:49 PM
American Academy of Pediatrics: "Because of the aggressive promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy, a number of medical, health, and mental health professional organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of this approach. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured.” The American Academy of Pediatrics advises youth that counseling may be helpful for you if you feel confused about your sexual identity. Avoid any treatments that claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation, or treatment ideas that see homosexuality as a sickness." Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth [APP]
Dan Johnson May 14, 2013 at 03:51 PM
"Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation," said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. "Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions." Glassgold added: "At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex." Based on this review, the task force recommended that mental health professionals avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed about their own or others' sexual orientation. Insufficient Evidence that Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Work, Says [American Psychological Association]
Jack May 14, 2013 at 03:54 PM
I don't think an article about mental health should be sponsored by Grape-NUTS
mike savick May 15, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Mike K. I will fight to Protect your right to your belief just I have worked for affirming the rights of gay people and religious groups with different beliefs. If the issue is not politicized to harvest votes, life will get back to "normal" and there will be another fishing opener, baseball, picnics, snow storms etc. There may be kinks to work out because people and laws are annoyingly complex. I hope you see over time that affirming someone else's rights does not diminish yours. Be well.
Mike K. May 15, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Mike S., Thank you for your kind words. I wish you, and all the other contributors, well also. Everything is so politicized these days that it has become a real burden on our society. I hope that this aggressive agenda of the DFL will work for the betterment of all Minnesotans, but I doubt that it will. I feel that it is mostly political payback for the people who put them in office. That is nothing new. Hopefully, Minnesota will continue to be a good place to live. I don't think anyone can argue that it has changed dramatically in the last ten years.
Renee May 15, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Most likely it was the aggressive/repressive agenda of the right and their trying to push through that little amendment last fall that finally allowed the rights of all to be recognized. I suspect those that are so opposed will be very surprised at just how little this affects them.
Mike K. May 15, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Big, big money helped defeat that amendment. Repubs aren't the only ones with a lot of wealth. A law has been duly passed and time will tell what the results will be. I always hope for the best outcome for all of society.
Michael Hindin May 15, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Mike K, thank the Koch Brothers (Flint hills Refinery) , ALEK and your conservative church. We couldn't have don it with you. The amendment was defeated because a majority of Minnesotans saw that it was a wrong imposition of church on state.You lit the fire. Thank you!
Michael Hindin May 16, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Reverend Provis, I applaud your achievement in overcoming a parent's worst tragedy and your purposeful life. In Yiddish you are a mensch! Only the nameless faceless political action committee or interns known as "Mike B" could foul an uplifting story of loss turned to purpose and joy. Sad that there is no humanity and kindness there.
mike savick May 16, 2013 at 04:00 PM
"Mike B" try some "reparative therapy" yourself or actually read the New Testament. Perhaps Mathew would be a good start. There are lots of lessons on how to treat people. In the Hebrew Bible you will find lots of wisdom about how to treat a stranger in your land. That applies to travelers, refugees, immigrants and your next door neighbor as well. In my many years of being a guest at many christenings, communions, weddings, celebration masses, etc., I have never heard the hateful words you often write.
Mike K. May 16, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Whoever said the majority was always right? Anyhow, it is a done deal now and I hope that everything works out for the best. However, I have my doubts about that.
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mike savick May 18, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Either Penny's email account has been hacked or she is violating PATCH's service agreement. Please change passwords frequently.

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