The Board of Covenant Network is deeply gratified that the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission today upheld  the decision of the Presbytery of San Francisco to ordain Lisa Larges as a Teaching Elder in the church.  This decision brings to a final conclusion roughly four years of litigation over the presbytery’s authority to find Lisa fit for ordained service after she declared her conscientious objections to former G-6.0106b (the “fidelity and chastity” rule) and similarly exclusionary interpretations of Scripture and the confessions.

In its decision, which was issued without any dissent, the GAPJC acknowledged that there is significant diversity around the church in the interpretation of what Scripture and the confessions teach about human sexuality.  The GAPJC affirmed that “[s]uch thoughtful disagreement among reasonable and faithful Presbyterians is itself an important and faithful part of the Reformed tradition.”  Given this, the GAPJC affirmed that the Presbytery of San Francisco “properly exercised its prerogative” in determining that Lisa did not depart from essentials of Reformed faith and polity.

The board understands that, during the period this case was under review, Lisa discerned that she has fulfilled her call to the position that was validated as the basis for ordination, and that she now intends to seek ordination to a new call in another presbytery.  We are deeply grateful to Lisa for her courageous and persistent witness throughout this process, and know that the church will be greatly blessed by her ministry in coming years.

Consistent with Covenant Network’s ongoing commitment to provide legal resources and support as the church works to become more gracious and just, our director Doug Nave and recently retired Executive Director Pam Byers represented the Presbytery of San Francisco in this matter. Our heartfelt thanks for their excellent leadership and generous service to the church.

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