If you are reading this, I already know that you care about the church and its welcome of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities—which means you also know the challenges that persist in the PCUSA: Presbyteries that have yet to ordain an openly gay minister … Congregations that do not permit same-sex weddings … Candidates who, despite their gifts, can’t find a call … Congregations that want to be more welcoming, but don’t know how. People ask me all the time: What can I personally do to help the whole Church become more inclusive, more affirming, more faithful toward LGBTQ people? Let me invite you to consider one thing you can do right now: Support the Covenant Network of Presbyterians.
For 20 years now, the Covenant Network has charted a way for Presbyterians through troubled waters to a place of true unity in the beautiful diversity of the church. Policies have changed. Doors have been opened. But a boat doesn’t cross the ocean, then stop short of the harbor. We are painfully aware that this water is still tough – if not impossible – for many to navigate. So here’s some of what we’re doing now:
- At the General Assembly this month, CNP will advocate for overtures that will affirm the gifts of LGBTQ people serving the church. We are working for passage of new language to strengthen our witness for transgender people in church and society, and to reclaim a historic definition of “religious liberty” that will prevent discrimination, rather than prop it up. For more on our work at the 223rd General Assembly in St. Louis, including our positions on several important issues at this assembly, click here.
- Beginning this fall, we take our resources “on the road” to congregations and presbyteries seeking to strengthen their own welcome, have difficult conversations, and reach out more fully with the good news of God’s love for all.
- Week in and week out, we support pastors, candidates, laypeople and councils with guidance on how to navigate – and transform – what remains a challenging environment for LGBTQ people to find calls and use their gifts of leadership.
- And we stand with those who have suffered during the long season when the church didn’t recognize the gifts and love of many LGBTQ people, working together with others to correct historic injustice and provide for a better future.
All of this demands hard work, time and experience. It takes commitment, and it requires resources. How can you help LGBTQ people in church and society? One way is by supporting the work of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. And if you do so by the end of June, your gift of $100 or more will be matched by a generous donor (up to $5,000). Your passion for equality and hope for all God’s children will be amplified … if you act now. You can give securely right now at covnetpres.org/donate (or you can send a check to our postal address: 3210 Michigan Ave., Suite 300, Kansas City, MO 64109).
Thank you for your faithful witness, and for being part of ours. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any thoughts, questions or ideas for how our ministry can continue to serve the needs of all God’s people.
Brian Ellison, executive director