Statement by the Board of Directors of the
Covenant Network of Presbyterians
July 10, 2010

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is grateful that the 219th General Assembly voted to continue the progress made by the last two General Assemblies toward a more gracious and welcoming church.

The General Assembly voted to send to the presbyteries an amendment setting higher ordination standards that do not arbitrarily exclude a whole class of  church members.  We have seen steady movement toward acceptance of God-given gifts for congregational leadership and service.  We will work to help presbyteries continue this progress.

By a two-to-one margin, the General Assembly voted to uphold the process adopted by the last two General Assemblies that permits presbyteries and sessions to consider individual candidates’ life and faith along with any specific “departure.”  And it rejected an effort to reinstate obsolete statements about “practicing homosexual persons” that were removed by the 2008 General Assembly.

Although this General Assembly chose not to discuss the pressing issue of pastoral discretion with respect to changing civil definitions of marriage, it did commend for study reports from the Special Committee on Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage.  The Covenant Network looks forward to engaging in conversations about the meaning and role of marriage and its value in same-gender couples’ faithful lives.

In line with the demand for equal civil rights and benefits that the PC(USA) has urged public and private employers to extend for more than thirty years, this General Assembly approved providing equal benefits for same-gender partners of PC(USA) employees and for these couples’ children.  The Covenant Network applauds this first step toward a recognition of the equal worth of all  who serve Christ in the Presbyterian Church.

As several of these reports and amendments make their way to the presbyteries, we invite all Presbyterians, especially those who disagree with us, to pray and study with us as we struggle together for the Gospel.