The Covenant Network is profoundly grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court proclaimed that states may not refuse to grant marriage licenses to couples of the same sex, and must recognize valid marriages contracted in other jurisdictions. The decision expands marriage equality nationwide and affirms the equal dignity of all persons, removing one form of legal discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Our board joined a sizable group of faith-based organizations in submitting an amicus curiae brief urging this ruling.
We are also profoundly grateful for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s embrace of marriage equality, as affirmed in the newly-amended section on marriage (W-4.9000) in the Book of Order, which took effect this month. Now, with the possibility of marriage for same-sex couples expanded throughout the United States, more pastors and sessions will have the opportunity to welcome couples to celebrate their marriage covenants in Presbyterian worship. We are eager to support teaching elders and congregations as they engage in ministry with LGBTQ persons; resources are being collected here.
We recognize that some Presbyterians do not discern God calling them to participate in same-sex marriage services; both civil law and the Book of Order protect the prerogative of churches to decline, and we strongly support freedom of conscience for all. We are committed to remaining in conversation with those who do not share our perspective, honoring all as sisters and brothers in Christ; to studying Scripture together; and to witnessing to the reality of LGBTQ lives, and how both church and public policies affect them.
We also are aware that LGBTQ persons still face serious challenges to equality in other areas, including employment and housing. The PCUSA has a longstanding policy opposing discrimination, and the Covenant Network will continue to further that commitment, working actively and joyfully for justice and inclusion in church and society.
Likewise, we are mindful that both our church and our nation fail to live up to our best principles in other areas of justice. As proclaimed in the Foundations of Presbyterian Polity, “In Christ, by the power of the Spirit, God unites persons through baptism regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, disability, geography, or theological conviction. There is therefore no place in the life of the Church for discrimination against any person.” [F-1.0403] And yet – as news from Charleston and elsewhere has tragically demonstrated in recent months – racism and other manifestations of sinful failure to live out God’s love still plague us. We have resolved to explore how we can take concrete steps to address these challenges as well.
–The Board of Directors of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians
Join us for our 2015 Covenant Conference, “Unity Matters: Living Into God’s Future … Together,” November 5-7, in Denver.
We’re grateful for your financial support as you are able.
And we invite your feedback as we seek to discern how best to live into this new day in the life of the PCUSA and the Covenant Network. Contact us at [email protected] or 816-605-1031.