Jim Hudnut-Beumler predicts that the approval of Amendment 14-F will continue the movement toward marriage equality in a growing number of congregations — not because ministers and sessions will be forced against their will, but because “‘the power of one’ has the power to change hearts and minds.”
The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is grateful that with today’s presbytery votes, a majority of the 171 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA) have approved an amendment to the church’s Book of Order that describes marriage as “a unique relationship between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”
The Rev. Margaret LaMotte Torrence, Interim Pastor of Black Mountain (NC) Presbyterian Church, preached this sermon the day after the Presbytery of Western North Carolina affirmed Amendment 14-F. Her comments at the presbytery meeting are included: “I cannot imagine our marriage apart from the church. And how much harder it must be to nurture and sustain a relationship that runs against the grain of society’s norms. Yet we have told our gay brothers, our lesbian sisters—up until now—that their desire to live in covenant faithfulness has no place in the life of the Church. In so doing, it seems to me that we have robbed them of the companionship and the counsel of the Church, and we have robbed the Church of the full measure of their gifts—and their companionship—and their counsel. For anytime we are withholding part of who we are from our community, we are offering less than God would have us give. And anytime we have cut off part of the body, we are not fully the church.”
When the Presbytery of Northeast Georgia met to consider Amendment 14-F, both the Pastor of Nacoochee Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Robert W. Prim, and Ruling Elder Theodore Brothers shared their testimony.
Bob: “The Bible does give a clear sense about God’s purposes for marriage — God has given us marriage so that human beings might grow in self-giving love. In this way marriage is a beautiful metaphor for God’s relationship with Israel and Jesus’ relationship with the Church.”
Ted: “Now, I know that many of you believe that I chose to be gay. You are wrong. Being gay is something God chose for me when I was born. Being gay is how I was created. For me, to deny being gay would be to deny God. I cannot do that. Nor can I deny the love that I have for my husband, Mike.”
Mike and Debbie Regele are among many evangelical Christians whose views on same-gender relationships have been challenged when one of their children came out to them as LGBT. Each of them prepared remarks for the meeting of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos considering the Marriage Amendment 14-F.
Mike: “The question I want to address in a few brief comments is why I am on the affirming side.”
Debbie: “This is my story — but it is only one of many families’ in our presbytery who face this issue in a personal way. So I speak for them too — please prayerfully consider supporting this amendment.”
As the Presbytery of Santa Fe prepares to consider Amendment 14-F this weekend, Ken Cuthbertson reflects on the amendment, church history, theology, and relationships within the PCUSA: “I hope to speak to having been at GA and how deeply impressed I was/am at the care taken to move into a newly worded description of marriage while endeavoring to honor and hold space for those who differ. We are “one in the Spirit” and “one in the Lord.” What we need on Saturday is for our folks to show up, and – as needed and as moved – to speak our truth.”