Coming soon from Presbyterian pastor Chris Neufeld-Erdman, to be published by Cascade Books – A Table for All: How I Came to Understand the Gospel Means Full Inclusion of Gays and Lesbians. Written by a Christian leader with a passion for evangelism who also happens to be the father of two gay sons, A Table for All explores Scripture and church history and how the authorities to which Christians turn to guide our lives have informed his own journey (and that of his congregation) in issues surrounding sexual orientation and marriage – taking seriously the individuals and families affected by the church’s deliberations.
A Sermon on 1 John 4:7–21 by the Rev. Tricia Dykers Koenig at the Philadelphia Regional Conference, Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church, February 7, 2015: “Friends, we don’t welcome other religions because we believe they are true – we welcome them because we believe our own Lord and Savior. We are not kind to others because they particularly deserve it – we are kind because it is our call in Christ. Welcoming all, especially the marginalized, is not about who they are. It’s about who we are. Or perhaps more precisely, because we know who we are – children of God because God loves us unconditionally – then we know we can never deny that identity to another.”
A Sermon on James 2:1-17 by the Rev. Bertram Johnson at the Northwest Regional Conference, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, 30 January 2015: “Through our acts of partiality, of favoritism, of judgment, of limitation on not just LGBTQ people, but on all God’s people, we pit the truth of God’s grace against itself and show our hypocrisy and lack of faith. As these first century believers dishonored the poor by favoring the rich, we continue to dishonor God’s people by creating divisions and obstacles to God. Through our biases the Church becomes a stumbling block and an exclusive club to those who seek to know God. We do this because we fail to believe that Christ’s sacrifice is big enough, wide enough, and deep enough to heal all our human-made fears and prejudices. When I’m faced with such opposition from my brother and sister Christians, like James, I ask do we really believe that the power of God is for all or is it that we think it’s only for some?”
A Sermon on Colossians 3:12-17 by the Rev. Kenneth E. Kovacs, Ph.D., preached at the Covenant Network Regional Conference, University Presbyterian Church, Baton Rouge, LA, 24th January 2015: “The non-possessive delight in the particularity of the other. Love sees the other and does not confuse the other with oneself. Love allows the other to exist in freedom and creates a space for the other to be. Love creates a space to be—it always creates a space. Love does not possess the other, or control, define, delimit, or diminish the other. Love transforms the other from an it (an object to be controlled) into a Thou (a subject worthy of respect and honor). Love allows the other to be, to thrive, to grow, to exist apart from oneself, to have a life apart from oneself, and then takes immense delight and joy in the particularity, the uniqueness, the incomparability of the other. When we love this way the other comes into focus before our eyes and we are allowed to see, really see the other for whom s/he really is. The non-possessive delight in the particularity of the other.”
The Covenant Network is pleased to offer a four-part video series featuring the Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeier, author of The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart, discussing how his journey with the Scriptures led him away from his initial opposition to marriage for committed lesbian and gay couples, and toward wholehearted support for marriage equality.
A Sermon on Acts 11:1-18 by the Rev. D. Mark Davis at the Covenant Network Regional Conference, St. Mark Presbyterian Church, November 22, 2014: “What it means to be part of a church that is empowered by God’s Spirit, is to spend our lives playing “catch up” to a Spirit who disrespects our prejudices and will not be hampered by our anxieties. None of us follows this Spirit easily, without some wrestling with God, without some difficult transitions from naïve certainty to perplexity to a chastened and transformed certainty. When we follow this Spirit, we are humbled, even when we’re right. We can listen to even our severest critics, because we know that the same Spirit whose work is confounding them is the same Spirit whose work once confounded us. What we can only do is to tell our stories with confidence and tell them with grace.”