The Covenant Network of Presbyterians celebrates the accomplishments of the 222nd General Assembly! Over and over, this Assembly advanced the cause of inclusion and unity, affirming LGBTQ people and moving us in concrete ways toward being a church as generous and just as God’s grace.
As congregations continue to rejoice in the attainment of marriage equality in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), couples are working with pastors to craft meaningful worship services to celebrate their covenant commitment. Some are developing new forms, and others prefer a traditional liturgy.
Bryant Hand and Chase Robinson chose the traditional route, and have graciously shared their order of worship.
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.
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
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.”