The Saturday morning plenary at the 2013 Covenant Conference, “Marriage Matters,” included a look at the Covenant Network’s work leading up to the 221st General Assembly (2014), to be held in Detroit June 14-21. With a focus on marriage equality, the CovNet Board is supporting both an authoritative interpretation of the current language of the Book of Order to clarify that officiating at a same-gender marriage is not an offense subjecting a minister to discipline, and an amendment to the Directory for Worship to make it more accurate now that marriage equality is spreading in the United States.
A Sermon on 1 Corinthians 7:1-11, 25-38 preached at the Covenant Network Conference, November 2, 2013: “It’s not that the text suggests something simple in the sense of something sentimental, that ‘all you need is love.’ No mention of love here in this chapter about marriage at all, in fact, not even from the man behind 1 Corinthians 13. No, the simple summary of Paul’s response to the swirling questions about marriage here, about celibacy and abstinence, about mutuality and submission, about complementarity and about sex, we might actually say, is: ‘All you need … is God.’”
A Sermon on Ruth 1:1-22 preached at the Covenant Network Conference, November 1, 2013: “What is married? We say it all the time at weddings, we say it to partners getting ready to marry, we say it to couples working hard to stay married: At its core, marriage is not about passion or emotion or physical attraction. It is not about feelings. At its core, marriage is about covenant, commitment. It is about shared hopes and shared struggles and shared life. At its very best, marriage is an embodiment of God’s hesed – God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.”
An Address to the 2013 Covenant Conference, November 1, 2013: “… I want to linger for a little while on appeals to creation that have resulted in damaging views of marriage, because they have been so pervasive and influential in Christian tradition. I want to make clear at the outset that these views of marriage have been destructive for all people, not just LGBT folks. The movement for marriage equality is an opportunity for Christians to go back and articulate a better theology of marriage for everyone. Why should Christians support marriage equality? It’s time…”
Some congregations are finding that the sessions of the six-week study on Christian marriage provided by the Office of Theology and Worship are difficult to complete in the usual time available on a Sunday morning. The Rev. Ken Cuthbertson has graciously shared his lesson plans (handouts included) for 50-minute classes. Download Ken’s adaptation of the study.
The 2013 Covenant Conference will take place at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, October 31 to November 2. In a series of compelling keynote addresses, three of the leading voices of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will bring words of enlightenment and challenge to this year’s Covenant Conference. Don’t miss Macky Alston, Amy Plantinga Pauw, and Stacy Johnson. Registration is open now. Read more…