Justice and Unity

Mark Hostetter

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

Margaret_LaMotte_Torrence

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

Nacoochee 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.”

Presbyterian parents on Amendment 14-F

Debbie and Mike Regele

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.”

Anticipating the presbytery meeting

Ken Cuthbertson

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.”

A Table for All

Chris_N-E

Coming soon from Presbyterian pastor Chris Neufeld-Erdman, to be published by Cascade Books – A Table for All: How I Came to Understand the Gospel Means Full Inclusion of Gays and Lesbians. Written by a Christian leader with a passion for evangelism who also happens to be the father of two gay sons, A Table for All explores Scripture and church history and how the authorities to which Christians turn to guide our lives have informed his own journey (and that of his congregation) in issues surrounding sexual orientation and marriage – taking seriously the individuals and families affected by the church’s deliberations.