From the Covenant Network Board

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians has had two primary goals since its founding in 1997:  to work for the removal of ordination barriers to the full participation of LGBT Presbyterians, and to support the mission and unity of the denomination.

With the recent passage of Amendment 10-A, now G-2.0104b, our founding mission has been greatly advanced.  How the denomination lives into this new reality now demands a renewed commitment to advocate for those LGBT Presbyterians who seek ordination as ruling and teaching elders and deacons.

Given that there are many in the PC(USA) who are troubled by the change in ordination standards, the Board of Directors lifts up this effort mindful of its commitment to tend to the unity of the denomination.  In that spirit, the Board has decided not to support or encourage overtures to the 2012 General Assembly to change the constitutional language regarding marriage.  The Covenant Network will, however, encourage overtures seeking Authoritative Interpretation to protect pastoral discretion to celebrate same-gender marriages where they are sanctioned by the civil authorities.

In humble service to the One who we believe calls us toward a church as just and generous as God’s grace,

The Covenant Network Board of Directors,

David Van Dyke and Mary Lynn Tobin, Co- Moderators

Comments

  1. Thomas L. Fultz, Ruling Elder says:

    What a wrong-headed approach that will certainly backfire. I urge a reconsideration of this approach.

    To approach the issue of same-gender marriage by ignoring the obvious meaning of the PC(USA) constitutional standard is simply wrong. The only way to change a constitutional standard is to amend it through the prescribed process. The proposed Authoritative Interpretation on same-gender marriage would bring about something new to PC(USA) polity. It would not be a statement to clarify an issue which is ambiguous in the Constitution; rather it would make ambiguous what is currently clear, as well as in accordance with Scripture and in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This approach the Covenant Network takes on a most consequential issue is to use what seems like a path of least resistance with a new Authoritative Interpretation approved by a simple majority vote by the GA. Of course, the correct way to amend the PC(USA) Constitution’s Book of Order requires a vote of the GA plus ratification by a majority of the presbyteries. In this case, several elements of the Confessions ought be amended as well.

    Since the correct approach would generate turmoil throughout the denomination it appears the Covenant Network wants to go around the constitutional amendment process.

    As Jack Haberer says in his Presbyterian Outlook editorial:
    “In fact, the truly honorable way to change this policy would entail amending related texts in the Book of Confessions, which requires ratification by two-thirds of the presbyteries, sandwiched between two affirming GAs. That was done properly a generation ago to soften the Confessions’ condemnation of divorcees.
    This pill is poisonous also because it submits one of the church’s liturgical, and therefore theological, acts to local, secular, civil government definition and authorization. Are our theological convictions that trivial?”

    http://www.pres-outlook.com/opinion/editorials/12036-bad-medicine-for-marriage-.html

    The brazen plan of the Covenant Network will backfire as it generates greater division than did the recent change in ordination standards. It is wrong to take our denomination through such a change without proper constitutional process – for the denomination will fracture to the degree leading to death.

    I urge the members of the Covenant Network to request your leaders to back off their plans for any action at the 210th General Assembly regarding same-gender marriage; and to pursue any constitutional changes somewhere down the road.

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