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.
As the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the cases that could bring nationwide marriage equality — consolidated and known as Obergefell v. Hodges — the Justices had access to numerous friend-of-the-court briefs encouraging a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs seeking the freedom to marry and the recognition of their marriages by all states. The Covenant Network was pleased to participate as an amicus curiae, joining a number of other faith-based groups
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.”