Overture 50… One Gay Man’s Reflection

‘… It hurts, deeply, when I find some on “our side” too ready and quick to dismiss the pains among these sisters and brothers with whom we differ.
‘If we, LGBTQ Presbyterians and our allies, fail to acknowledge that, then we are failing them (and Jesus) in the same way too many of them have failed us (and Jesus) over the years. That does not mean that we should back away from what has been achieved, or from our ongoing advocacy for fully realized inclusion and welcome. But, I think it does mean that… for all the justness of it… pushing for an apology from the PCUSA is more harmful than helpful, at least at this point in time. Do I want it? Absolutely. Should I urge it? In charity and mutual forbearance, I think not. The wounds of the long struggle are still too open and raw, and the reaction is re-opening our own wounds and scars…’

Remembering Pam Byers

The tribute to Pam Byers at the Covenant Conference in Denver prompted her friend and former colleague Rosemary Bledsoe to offer these memories of Pam and the early days of the Covenant Network: “Most people saw her at GAs and conferences and meetings all over the country. I saw her pushing cartloads of envelopes out to her car to take to the post office, plowing through stacks of papers on her desk, sweating out deadlines, anxiously monitoring the never-quite-adequate bank balance, stunned with fatigue, hoarse from constant conversation, frustrated, determined, and somehow usually fairly hopeful.”

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.”

TORN: Justin Lee’s witness

Tricia Dykers Koenig suggests you read TORN: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, by Justin Lee.

Justice and Unity

Keynote Address by the Rev. Dr. Mark Hostetter at the Covenant Network Regional Conference ~ Philadelphia, PA, February 7, 2015:
” One of the things I love most about Covenant Network, the uniqueness of CovNet, is that you are changing hearts and minds with a vision of living the lives Jesus calls us to – of welcome and inclusion and truth and joy; and yes, too, lives led with purity and proclamation and biblically-based witness and testimony and making Jesus the center of our lives and vision.
Reaching across the aisle, not demonizing those who disagree, that’s the power of Covenant Network. Engaging in respectful dialog, talking about issues, taking arguments one-by-one and one-on-one, not shying away from the hard discussions, giving reason, giving faith, giving testimony, giving hope. The power of Covenant Network lies in personal connection.”