The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is a broad-based, national group of clergy and lay leaders working for a church that is simultaneously faithful, just, and whole. We seek to support the mission and unity of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in a time of potentially divisive controversy. We intend to articulate and act on the church’s historic, progressive vision and to work for a fully inclusive church.
We seek to live out the Reformed faith found in Scripture and our confessions, and in our life together to follow the principles laid out in the Call to Covenant Community. We strive to proclaim and embody the gospel as we have learned it from the life and ministry of Jesus; we affirm the centrality of the Bible in our church; and we value the dynamic tension between unity and diversity. The Call to Covenant Community has been affirmed by 20 former Moderators, more than 3,000 ministers, 2,000 other officers, 300+ sessions, and five presbyteries.
Covenant Network was founded in August, 1997, to support the passage of Amendment (97)-A, the “Fidelity and Integrity” Amendment, intended to give sessions and presbyteries more discretion in discerning God’s call for ordained office on particular people, within clear biblical and confessional standards.
Amendment A was not affirmed by a majority of presbyteries in voting during the winter and spring of 1998. Consequently the former “Amendment B” remained in the Book of Order, the constitution of the church, as G-6.0106b. Although the amendment failed to pass, 46% of the votes cast in presbytery meetings that year favored Amendment A.
Covenant Network led three subsequent efforts in the presbyteries to delete or change G-6.0106b, via proposed Amendments 01-A, 08-B, and 10-A. Amendment 10-A was approved by the presbyteries, and went into effect as G-2.0104b in the summer of 2011.
The Covenant Network’s appeal to the “broad middle” of the church has attracted support from across the denomination. Its founding Co-Moderators were Robert Bohl, Pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas and Moderator of the 206th General Assembly, and John Buchanan, Co-Pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago and Moderator of the 208th General Assembly. Its Board of Directors and Board of Advisors include distinguished pastors and theologians from all parts of the country, united in their determination to keep the church from either enshrining a narrow orthodoxy or splitting over non-essential matters.
Covenant Network’s Program Commitments
The Covenant Network works for needed change through active programs of Resourcing, Networking, and Advocating. We are committed to helping the church stay together in faithful ministry, even as we continue to study the Scriptures and seek the mind of Christ on the question of ordination standards and other matters. In addressing a broad range of theological, biblical, pastoral, and ecclesiastical matters facing our church, Covenant Network
Articulates a traditional, progressive, mainstream vision of the Presbyterian Church through publications, scholarship, and conferences;
Organizes local Covenant Network chapters for study, prayer, mutual support, and attention to church polity;
Participates actively in our General Assemblies;
Provides moral and legal support and counsel to officers and sessions challenged by church policies and discriminatory attitudes; and
Works for needed changes in the church.
Read the reflection about the Covenant Network by former General Assembly Moderator Doug Oldenburg.