The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is saddened at the death of its founding executive director, Dr. Pam Byers. Pam was an exemplary ruling elder, a tireless evangelist, and a true friend. Her service to the PCUSA and the cause of justice for LGBTQ persons was incomparable and will be deeply missed.
The Covenant Network Board of Directors expresses its admiration and gratitude for the congregations and ministers who, despite their unhappiness with the actions of the 221st General Assembly on marriage, have resolved to remain part of the denomination. Their presence is a great gift. Diverse views and patterns of spiritual practice keep the church honest and strong; all of us, in all our differences, are “knit together spiritually,” as scripture says, “into a dwelling place for God.”
The proposed Amendment 14-F specifically includes language protecting freedom of conscience for teaching elders and congregations who choose not to participate in or host same-sex marriages. We wholeheartedly support those important protections, which are in keeping with our Presbyterian principles. Indeed, we believe the amendment was greatly strengthened by their addition.
We have heard there is substantial concern among conservative and evangelical teaching elders and congregations that, in presbyteries where their views about marriage are in the minority, dissenting ministers would not be permitted to serve or dissenting congregations would be prevented from calling the pastors they want. As a board and as individual presbyters, we would oppose efforts to exclude persons who are qualified and called for service on the basis of their views about marriage, and we would urge other Presbyterians to join us in this commitment.
A Sermon on Marriage Equality and the Church, by Layton E. Williams
Matthew 22:1-14 ~ Springfield Regional Conference, October 11, 2014
“…Marriage matters, but we haven’t fought this long and hard because it is the only thing that matters, we have fought because it is part of something so much bigger that matters so much more—and that is the covenant of God to which we are all invited and all called. And it matters how we show up, it matters what we clothe ourselves in, what we wear, because every act of covenant with God—between two people and between all people—is not just a celebration. It’s also an act of holy protest against brokenness…”