A Pastoral Emergency: The polity crisis that engulfs teaching elders, sessions and couples around same-sex marriage

~ by Tricia Dykers Koenig

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, New York, Washington, Maine, Maryland.  According to the Human Rights Campaign, over 15% of Americans currently live in jurisdictions with marriage equality.  Many expect California, Illinois, and Rhode Island to follow rapidly.   As reflected in courts, legislatures, popular votes, and polls, more and more Americans are recognizing the fundamental unfairness of denying all the rights of marriage to committed couples willing to take on the responsibilities of marriage, based on their gender and sexual orientation.

With the spread of marriage equality, more and more Presbyterian ministers are being asked to perform for their LGBTQ congregants the same ministry that they provide with joy to their heterosexual congregants – to officiate at the services of worship in which couples commit their lives to one another in marriage.  And yet, Presbyterian ministers are not free to exercise their own judgment in deciding whether or not to conduct such services…

Read more on ecclesio.com, in the second installment of Covenant Network week.


  1. http://Thomas%20L.%20Fultz,%20Ruling%20Elder says

    Presbyterian ministers must exercise their pastoral responsibilities within the constraints of Scripture and both books of the PCUSA Constitution – Book of Confessions and Book of Order. Each of these are limiting factors for those in Ordered ministry – there is no “pastoral waiver” to trump Scripture. Ministers are NOT free to their own judgment in areas where that judgment runs counter to the Word of God, and to the confessions which instruct us as Presbyterians on a Reformed perspective of the Scripture’s constraints.

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