We would like to express gratitude for the hopeful step forward taken in two recent rulings from the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission, following hearings on July 29 in Louisville.

As a result of these rulings (details of which may be found at on the PJC’s webpage), Scott Anderson’s ordination plans may proceed, while Lisa Larges will need to wait for the Synod of the Pacific PJC to resolve specific questions raised by the GAPJC.  It is disappointing that both cases could not be dismissed, but ultimately it is a step forward.

We ask for your prayers to sustain Lisa as she endures further delays.  And we lift up prayers of celebration as Scott Anderson moves into the resolution of a long and challenging process.  The Covenant Network Board is grateful to Lisa and Scott for the faithful love and persistence with which, for decades, they have offered their gifts to the Presbyterian Church (USA). We would like to thank all who worked in their congregations, sessions and presbyteries, on synod and GA commissions, committees and task forces, to work toward the resolutions of these cases.

We also recognize the legal expertise, theological integrity, and commitment to the PC(USA) with which both presbyteries’ legal counsel, Covenant Network Director Doug Nave, defended these cases.  Doug has given his time and shared his extraordinary talents generously and skillfully, and we owe him an immeasurable debt of gratitude.

Lifting arbitrary barriers to ordination has been one of the founding aspirations of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians.  During the fourteen years that the former G-6.0106b was part of the PC(USA)’s constitutional standards, the Board of the Covenant Network and those who supported it worked to move the denomination toward an ordination standard that is more inclusive of our gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual brothers and sisters. That Scott Anderson is now able to respond to God’s call to serve as a teaching elder is a hopeful sign of a new reality for the PC(USA).

Unfortunately, it is the nature of the judicial process that its judgments often leave some rejoicing and others mourning.  Faithful Presbyterians hold strong and differing convictions about what it means “to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life,” [G-2.0104b] but we are united in our desire to love and serve Christ. Supporting the mission and unity of the PC(USA) has been a founding principle of the Covenant Network, and we remain committed to the hard work of listening, learning, and praying, that we might move humbly together toward the future God calls us to envision.


Mary Lynn Tobin and David Van Dyke
Co-Moderators of the Board of Directors of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians