Letters from the Heart

Ruling Elder Bob Coates from Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in Tampa, Florida, offers a website with resources collected during his congregation’s conversation about same-gender relationships. The Palma Ceia Session voted to affirm their pastors’ discretion in deciding which marriages to perform in their sanctuary.

Science, Scripture, and Same-Sex Love

A book review by Tricia Dykers Koenig: “Regele explores multiple disciplines in his search for understanding – biology, psychology, sociology, and demographics, along with biblical study, theology, and church history – and reflects on these learnings in light of his personal story. He provides an accessible survey of the science pointing to the probability that sexual orientation is innate, resulting from a combination of genetic and prenatal hormonal influences. The ethical conclusion: it is inconsistent with loving one’s LGBTQ neighbors to blame and penalize them for a characteristic they did not choose and cannot change.”

A Wedding Hymn

Hymn-writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is offering a wedding hymn — using the tune of the Thanksgiving standard, “We Gather Together — with permission for use by anyone who supports the work of the Covenant Network and the request that donations go to the Covenant Network. The hymn was commissioned for the wedding of Paul Tellstrom and Carl Whidden on September 7, 2014.

A Session’s Discernment Process on Marriage

The Rev. Stephanie Anthony explains the discernment process leading to the unanimous Session decision that “at First Presbyterian Church of Hudson, Wisconsin requests for Session consideration of marriage will not be denied based upon sexual orientation.”

Covenant Network Grateful for Supreme Court Decision

The Covenant Network is profoundly grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court proclaimed that states may not refuse to grant marriage licenses to couples of the same sex, and must recognize valid marriages contracted in other jurisdictions. The decision expands marriage equality nationwide and affirms the equal dignity of all persons, removing one form of legal discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The New W-4.9000: A History

As of June 21, all amendments to the Book of Order proposed by the 221st General Assembly (2014), having been approved by a majority of the presbyteries, have now taken effect. Read the story of Amendment 14-F, which is now W-4.9000.