What’s next for the Covenant Network?

A lot of people have been asking us over the last few months what’s next for us. Now that the presbyteries have voted to approve Amendment 14-F, affirming that ministers may officiate, and sessions may host, same-gender weddings, and now that LGBTQ people are being ordained in congregations and presbyteries around the country, what will the Covenant Network do? What does our mission look like going forward?
Executive Director Brian Ellison addresses the question in this video.

“Of Truth and Love”

A sermon by the Rev. Brian D. Ellison at the NEXT Church Conference, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago:

“Speaking the truth in love. This is the change on which the church depends. Our growing up, by speaking the truth in love.”

Risk and Reality

A Sermon on Matthew 25:14-30 by the Rev. Brian D. Ellison at the Covenant Network of Presbyterians Regional Conference, College Hill Presbyterian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, November 15, 2014: “The reality is that we all have been entrusted with much. It is as if we have been given a talent, and knowing our master as we do, knowing the way the master reaps where he hasn’t sown, and harvests where he hasn’t scattered, having done so much already, we bury it. We cling to that hard-earned achievement, preserve that wealth of good will and justice abounding around us, ensure a comfortable if not extravagant future. Or we find a way of differentiation, of sheltering in place, of keeping the faith when surrounded by adversity through isolation and fear.”

Divided Votes, United People

CovNet Executive Director Brian Ellison reflects on the experience of the 221st General Assembly and how that gracious spirit can be mirrored when presbyteries consider amendments to the Book of Order and other potentially controversial issues.

Why Marriage Matters Now: Thoughts as the Church Talks About Same-Sex Marriage

Brian Ellison reflects on what’s at stake in the approval of Amendment 14-F: fundamental Christian values, the quality and content of the Church’s mission, the lives of people.

Why an Authoritative Interpretation Matters

Clergy confidentiality. The uses of church property. Voting by email or on a conference call by presbyteries or sessions. How candidates for ordination are to be examined. The meaning of marriage.
They’re all more or less important pieces of church life and governance. They’re all matters where contemporary practice outpaced what was anticipated when the church’s constitutional documents were written. And they are all areas where General Assemblies have made statements—known as authoritative interpretations—about how the Book of Order is to be understood in light of new situations and changing realities.
This summer, we at the Covenant Network are encouraging the 221st General Assembly to make decisions that will deepen and enhance the church’s understanding of marriage—clarifying that its blessings are available to all people, including couples of the same gender. One way we hope the assembly does this is through an authoritative interpretation—a binding ruling by the church’s highest council about what the constitution does and doesn’t say. There’s a fair amount of confusion in the church about what an AI is… but there doesn’t need to be.