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.”

A Prayer for Courage

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.”

Nacoochee Witness

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.”