Celebrating Tricia Dykers Koenig’s 16 Years of Ministry

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is celebrating the ministry of its national organizer, the Rev. Tricia Dykers Koenig. Tricia will leave the organization’s staff this month after 16 years of service that included strategy, advocacy and education on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

At a dinner in Tricia’s honor at a meeting of the Board of Directors last week, members gave the stalwart organizer much of the credit for major changes in church policy over the past decade. Church leaders have admired Tricia’s effectiveness and praised Tricia’s tenacity for years—even when they were themselves in a position not to take sides.

“I experienced Tricia’s good work from both sides,” said Cliff Kirkpatrick, who was stated clerk of the General Assembly for eight years of Tricia’s tenure. He is now a member of the Covenant Network Board. “And I think it’s fair to say there is no single person who has had more impact in changing General Assembly policy on the role of LGBTQ people in the church.”

Year after year, Tricia organized a team at General Assembly with dozens of volunteers who marshaled resources, sought conversations, spoke in hearings and educated commissioners about matters of inclusion and justice. She also led a network of active volunteers in most presbyteries who sought to help their own local colleagues come to terms with sometimes controversial issues.

“I first met Tricia when she helped me organize in my fairly conservative presbytery. I’d been feeling rather isolated, and she helped me feel I was a part of a larger movement, which helped me on many levels,” said Marci Auld Glass, co-moderator of the Covenant Network Board since 2015. “I’m grateful for her faithful spirit, always lifting up the unity and health of the church. I’m thankful for her friendship, her keen intellect, and her generous spirit.”

Tricia, who worked from her home office in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, remains an active teaching elder member of the Presbytery of Western Reserve and is open to other ministry possibilities. But she will be profoundly missed in this role by her colleagues at the Covenant Network and across the country.

“With all of Tricia’s work on the challenging and controversial issues facing the church, her focus has never been on merely ‘winning,’” said Brian Ellison, Covenant Network’s executive director. “Everything she has done has been aimed at building up the strength and health of the whole church.”

General Assembly advocacy and organizing has become a smaller portion of the Covenant Network’s operation as its mission has evolved to focus more on maintaining gains made for LGBTQ people and helping congregations and presbyteries live into them. This includes more focus on education, resource development and distribution, and equipping Presbyterians for conversation.

Additionally, the Covenant Network has deepened its commitment, in the spirit of the Confession of Belhar, to working for the church’s witness to the full inclusion and equality of people of color and any others who are excluded from the life and leadership of church and society. Upcoming work in this area will partner with other groups in the church and focus on program development, educational conferences and materials, anti-racism training and activation of the network to work for changes.

Tricia will receive special recognition at the Covenant Network’s national conference, November 8-10, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland. More details will be announced later this month.

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Comments

  1. Ray Banner says:

    Heartfelt thanks for your compassionate, prophetic voice for justice!

  2. Kirsten Kingdon says:

    Tricia, it has been such a pleasure working with you, getting to know you and observing your passionate, loving advocacy. You have modeled unfailing kindness, compassion and a willingness to interact respectfully and honestly with those with whom we disagreed. My life—as well as the life of our denomination—is better for your years of dedicated, capable work for a church as generous and just as God’s grace. With heartfelt thanks and best wishes for your future endeavors, Kirsten

  3. Roger Wilson says:

    From my first connection with LGBT advocacy at Fourth Presbyterian Chicago Tricia has been the backbone of word and deed for Covenant Network. I was honored to work closely with Tricia at 3 GAs – both weeping and rejoicing. Tricia runs a smooth, tight ship at those events, always bringing light to the issues being discerned and debated by the Commissioners. I truly believe that it is through the leadership of Tricia that we have gained rights for LGBT persons in the PC(USA). May God Bless You in your future endeavors.

  4. Michael Regele says:

    Tricia, thank you for your many years of faithful advocacy. Your work has made our church a more welcoming place and broken down barriers everywhere. You will be missed.

  5. Tricia, I remember suggesting that you must take your computer to bed with you when your were working so hard for justice for LGBT Presbyterians. But I believe Brian Ellison summed up your ministry when he wrote:
    “With all of Tricia’s work on the challenging and controversial issues facing the church, her focus has never been on merely ‘winning,’” said Brian Ellison, Covenant Network’s executive director. “Everything she has done has been aimed at building up the strength and health of the whole church.” God bless you for that.

  6. Tacey Braithwaite says:

    Tricia, thank you for your generous commitment to all – no matter how remote or small the Presbytery. You made such an impact on my life in 2010 when I had my first GA experience as a commissioner from SD & was placed on the amazing Church Orders & Ministry Committee that Amendment 10 A came out of. Your Covenant News letters mailed out before GA & the support and advice to Commissioners meant a great deal to me. as I learned so much. Wishing you much joy in your next Faith adventure as you continue to see the best in all. Tacey Braithwaite

  7. Catherine G. Borchert says:

    Tricia, we have been blessed to have you in the PCUSA, but even more in the Presbytery of the Western Reserve! Clear-thinking, careful research. always on top of the issue – large or small. But mainly you have been a wonderful, wise and helpful friend! Blessings on whatever God has planned for you next. Kitty Borchert

  8. Skip and Betsy Baker-Smith says:

    Tricia, we too want to thank you for your many years of faithful advocacy to make our church a more welcoming place. You did it with such a positive, gracious, and pleasant spirit, embodying the
    church as ‘just and generous as God’s love.” And finally, it happened! Well done.
    We are pleased to have (very old) shared history with you.
    Grace and Peace, Skip and Betsy Baker-Smith

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