The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is a national organization of nearly 400 congregations and thousands of Presbyterians. For 25 years, we are seeking to strengthen the church by educating, engaging and equipping it to be more welcoming and affirming of LGBTQIA+ people. Year round, work directly with individuals, congregations and councils across the church, and every two years, we advocate at the General Assembly for outcomes that are faithful and just.

To receive regular updates by email before and during the 225th General Assembly, or for questions about specific issues of items of business, email Executive Director Brian Ellison at [email protected]. You can also follow us on Twitter (@CovNetPres) for up to the minute information on issues before the Assembly.

To learn more about the Covenant Network of Presbyterians and its work helping the church live into its promises of equity and justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, visit covnetpres.org, or follow us on Twitter (@CovNetPres) or Facebook.

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians draws commissioners’ attention to a number of items before this committee: 

GA-MC-04: Renaming the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns

This recommendation changes the name of the ACWC to the “Advocacy Committee for Women and Gender Justice.” 

The CNP encourages the approval of this name change. The committee has a long record of advocating for gender equity across all gender identities, including transgender and non-binary people. These are appropriately acknowledged in the official name of the committee. 

GA-MC-05: Creating an Advocacy Committee for LGBTQIA+ Equity

This proposal creates a panel parallel to the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee and the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns, with access to the General Assembly to specifically lift up concerns of justice for people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

CNP urges support for the creation of this committee. So long as advocacy committees are a part of the way issues of justice and inclusion are lifted up in the church, it is important to understand LGBTQIA+ people as among those whose voices have long been silenced and for whom equity has not yet been fully realized. We also urge the General Assembly Nominating Committee to include those currently active with groups including the Covenant Network among those who serve on the advocacy committee, ensuring that our work across the denomination for justice is unified and not divided into left hands and right hands not knowing what the other is doing.

GA-MC-07: Including Inclusive Gender Options when Gender Information is Collected

This overture from the National Capital Presbytery would require that statistical reports, registration forms, PIFs and MIFs, and any other data-gathering by church entities would include inclusive gender options.

CNP encourages support for this resolution. “Male” and “female,” without other options, are exclusive terms that do not embrace the fullness of God’s people. As the overture rationale observe, this is the logical outgrowth of the General Assembly’s 2018 resolution calling for intentional work across the church to seek transgender and non-binary inclusion. Even as some agencies have already begun this work, we believe this resolution will ensure the work continues and be a strong encouragement to mid-councils and congregations, as well.

GA-MC-11: Changing AIDS to HIV in the Presbyterian Planning Calendar

This overture from Baltimore Presbytery would update terminology for national awareness efforts.

CNP encourages support for this recommendation. As the overture rationale notes, the term “AIDS” has become a form of stigmatization for a virus that disproportionately affects the LGBTQ community, and particularly people of color within the community, for whom HIV remains at epidemic levels in some areas. As medical technology has advanced, HIV has become more treatable and “living with HIV” can and should become the norm for those who contract the virus. We also encourage the use of the “people-first” language suggested by the overture (“People Living With HIV” not “HIV Awareness”).

GA-MC-12: Updating the 2004 “Transforming Families” Study

The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy asks for a major update to its 2004 paper on the changing nature of families to reflect modern realities. Their proposal calls for a diverse study team that seeks input from (among others) the newly created LGBTQIA+ Equity Advocacy Committee. It also seeks to specifically address discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people adopting, fostering and bearing children.

CNP encourages support for this recommendation. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has an opportunity to bear prophetic witness on a timely and critical topic through the ACSWP’s theologically grounded work. The proposed study will provide useful material for congregations and councils studying these issues, underlie the church’s public witness, and provide encouragement for LGBTQIA+ people enduring hardship and discrimination that their church stands with them.

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is also urging commissioners to carefully consider GA-MC-15 regarding the future format of General Assemblies.

Read our detailed analysis of that issue here