New Statement of Direction – 11/07

Toward a Church as Generous and Just as God’s Grace:
A New Statement of Direction
by the Board of the
Covenant Network of Presbyterians

November 1, 2007

The Covenant Network vigorously pursues its founding goal: to build up the church by removing barriers to ordained service by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender membersand by so doing, to further the unity of the church.

The 217th General Assembly (2006), led by the Holy Spirit, made progress toward this double goal. Calling all Presbyterians to strengthen their covenanted partnership with each other, the Assembly offered a renewed vision for church unity. In its Authoritative Interpretation of Book of Order § G-6.0108, the General Assembly reminded the church of one means by which that unity will be achieved: through faithful application of church standards, with respect for individuals’ freedom of conscience within the bounds of the church’s polity.

We are heartened by the serious and sustained efforts being made by sessions and presbyteries to understand and work with the new Authoritative Interpretation and the Assembly’s other decisions. All over the Presbyterian Church (USA), we see a new embrace of the longstanding traditions that have grounded our life together as Presbyterians for over two hundred years.  There is much work yet to do, but we are hopeful that we Presbyterians can and will do it well.

Given recent denominational actions, some congregations and ministers have left the denomination (fewer than 50 of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s more than 10,000 congregations).  We grieve these losses.  At the same time, we are gratified that the great majority of Presbyterians has heard and heeded the General Assembly’s call to work together in ways that upbuild the mission and presence of the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians offers resources and assistance to individuals, congregations and governing bodies, as the church implements the Authoritative Interpretation and other recommendations of the 217th General Assembly.  We pledge our legal, advisory, and educational resources for those in the ordination process.  As we look toward the next General Assembly, we will continue to monitor both local ordination/installation practices and judicial decisions to determine which additional measures we should pursue at this time to achieve our longstanding goal: a church as generous and just as God’s grace.

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