Since early in the ministry of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, the Call to Covenant Community has been the theological foundation for our work. While continuing to affirm these principles, the Board approved a new Call in September of 2012, in recognition of the changed context brought about by the replacement of G–6.0106b with G-2.0104b. Following the revision of the marriage section of the PC(USA)’s Directory for Worship in 2015, the Board updated the Call again.
As disciples of Jesus Christ and members of the Presbyterian Church (USA), in reliance on the promise of God’s grace, we make the following affirmations about our faith and our church:
We affirm faith in Jesus Christ who proclaimed the reign of God by preaching good news to the poor, binding up the broken-hearted and calling all to repent and believe the good news. It is Christ whose life and ministry form and discipline all we say and do.
The church we seek to strengthen is built upon the hospitality of Jesus, who said, “Whoever comes to me I will not cast out.” The good news of the gospel is that all — those who are near and those who were far off — are invited; all are members of the household and citizens of the realm of God. No one has a claim on this invitation and none of us becomes worthy, even by sincere effort to live according to God’s will. Grateful for our own inclusion, we carry out the mission of the church to extend God’s hospitality to a broken and fearful and lonely world.
The people of God are called to be “light to the nations.” As God’s people, we have a commission rather than a privilege. We believe that the place of the church is in the world and for the world: living the good news, proclaiming grace, working with others for justice, freedom and peace. Thus Christian faith has an inevitable public and political dimension. Because we believe that God is at work in culture and community beyond the church, the church need not be afraid to look and listen for God’s voice from outside its own sphere.
The words of scripture provide life and nourishment; as the psalmist says, they are desirable, delicious, sweet. The Bible is the evidence of God’s long, patient and persistent relationship with communities and persons of faith. It is the one true, reliable witness to God’s self-giving in Jesus Christ. The process of discerning God’s Word in the words of scripture depends on the faithful reading of the Bible by those who seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are committed to the ongoing task of finding in scripture God’s call to live out the Christian life in our day and time. We embrace gifts of scholarship, research and dialogue as we seek to understand the Bible’s relevance to the ever-changing needs of the world and to circumstances which scripture does not explicitly address.
We seek the gift of unity among all who confess the name of Jesus Christ as Lord. Unity is Christ’s prayer for those who would follow him, “so that the world might believe.” We hope to maintain communion fellowship with all whose lives are guided by the Christian creeds and by the confessions of Reformed faith. We pledge to strengthen our ties to those who are at risk of being excluded by recent legislative actions of our church. We also want to live in unity with those whose views are different from ours.
Because nothing in life or death can separate us from God’s love, we pray that the issues before us will not separate us from one another.
Therefore we covenant together to:
- welcome, in the name of Christ, all whom God calls into community and leadership in God’s church;
- reach out in solidarity and compassion to all who are wounded or excluded by recent legislative actions of our church;
- continue to be faithful to the Presbyterian Church (USA), supporting its mission in Christ’s name to God’s world;
- reaffirm our denomination’s historic understanding that “God alone is Lord of the conscience” (G-1.0301) both for ourselves and for those with whom we disagree;
- trust sessions and presbyteries to ordain those called by God, through the voice of the church, who are “persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord” and whose “manner of life demonstrates the Christian gospel in the church and the world” (G-6.0106a);
- seek pastoral and theological solutions to division in the church;
- maintain dialogue, study, and prayer in the spirit of Christ with those with whom we differ, seeking to understand the deeper roots of our disagreements;
- seek God’s will for the Church through the presence of Christ, the study of scripture, the guidance of our historic confessions, and the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit;
- encourage officers and governing bodies of the church to join us in this covenant.
As we covenant together in Christ, we commit ourselves to encourage one another through prayer, counsel, and mutual support, through times of challenge, controversy, and hope.