In early 2013, the Covenant Network welcomed two new congregations.
Affirming the “Call to Covenant Community,” these two churches have now joined with more than 350 others in their commitment to seeking a church that is both inclusive and united.
Summit Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia has considered themselves a congregation that welcomes LGBTQ people for many years now, a commitment demonstrated when they called their pastor the Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, an out lesbian, five years ago. After discussion with other CovNet churches and Bible studies about sexuality, Summit Presbyterian made their commitment to the Covenant Network official in June. With a now more formal and explicit stance, they hope to create greater visibility of their commitment to diversity within the church. The congregation of 113 members sees this step as a way to do more, learn more, and witness faithfully in the continuing journey for full inclusion in the church. In joining CovNet, Summit Presbyterian wants to support inclusion not only within their own community, but also in the larger church.
Mercer Island Presbyterian Church is located on Mercer Island, just east of Seattle. The congregation of 900 members has a long history of dedication to justice and seeks to be a safe space where anyone is welcome to live authentically and serve in leadership. Over the past two years, MIPC has gone through a process of coming to identify as a church that publicly and intentionally welcomes LGBTQ persons, discerning it as God’s call to their community. Since this process, MIPC has worked to take the language of inclusivity and turn it into action, including hosting the Northwest Regional Conference for the Covenant Network and supporting their Co-Pastor, the Rev. Paul Barrett, in his leadership as a member of CovNet’s Board of Directors.