Presbytery Plans for Holy Conversations Around Difficult Topics – the Amendments
Pastors, churches, and our Presbytery all face important decisions about how to vote on the General Assembly’s actions regarding same-gender marriage. Before we debate and vote on the proposed amendments, our Presbytery wants to encourage a time of discernment through “holy conversations” – conversations which intentionally make room for the Holy Spirit.
Two pastors, Jim Randall and Ernie Thompson have been asked to share their perspectives on same-gender marriage in the church and engage in such a holy conversation at three locations in the Presbytery. At these gatherings there will also be a time for questions and small group discussion. The event will focus on item 14-F in the booklet linked below.
Participants are asked to keep in mind the principle of Mutual Forbearance “that there are truths and forms with respect to which people of good character and principles may differ. And in these we think it the duty of both private Christians and societies to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other.” (Book of Order F-3.0105),
These Holy Conversations gatherings will be conversational but not a debate, time for debate will be at the stated meeting on Saturday, March 7, in Elizabethtown.
Who should come?
All voting commissioners to the Presbytery are encouraged to attend:
- The ruling elder commissioner elected by the session of your church to attend the March Presbytery meeting,
- All Pastors and CREs especially those who plan to attend the March 7 meeting
- All other voting members of presbytery
- other interested church leaders who want to explore this subject.
You are invited to join any one of the gatherings on these Sundays (all are at 3PM ending by 4:30PM):
- February 8—3:00 p.m. at Community PC, Pinehurst, West Community.
- February 15—3:00 p.m. MacPherson PC, Fayetteville, Central Community.
- February 22— 3:00 p.m at Wallace Presbyterian Church, East Community.
- Listen if you could not attend on YouTube
Go to to www.Wallacepresbyterian.com
- Look for “Watch Our Service – Past Services”
Handouts being given at the Holy Conversation:
- Agenda for Holy Conversation with Bibliography of Suggested Reading
- Sessional Records Higher Governing Bodies Recommendations (this item will be in the Presbytery Packet)
- Bible Study Overview Supporting Same-Gender Marriage Gay Marriage and the Bible by Ernie Thompson
- Remarks by James Randall in support of Opposite Gender Marriage as now stated in the Book of Order
- Speaking notes from Jim Randall (TBA)
- Listen if you could not attend on YouTube
Suggested reading material on the Proposed Amendments to the Book of Order:
- The Official Amendment Booklet (free download)
This booklet contains all proposed changes to the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions. These seven items will be voted on at the March stated meeting.
- A side-by-side comparison of the current and proposed language about marriage is found at http://www.pcusa.org/resource/comparison-proposed-amendment-w-49000-marriage/
- Our Challenging Way: Faithfulness, Sex, Ordination, and Marriage
by Barry Ensign-George and Charles Wiley, Office of Theology and Worship
- Material that supported the proposal when it came before the Assembly for consideration. http://oga.pcusa.org/section/ga/ga221/biblical-and-theological-rationales-marriage/
- Here is a paper summarizing some PCUSA history on this topic and various perspectives people hold on sexuality and Christian faith.
Gay Marriage and the Church
- [REQUESTED ADDITION] Bible Study Overview Supporting Same-Gender Marriage Gay Marriage and the Bible by E. Thompson
Suggested reading material on the Proposed Addition of Belhar to the Book of Confessions:
- Historical Context of the Belhar Confession by Dr. Jack Rogers
- The Bible and Belhar by Stehen Hayner and Mark Labberton
A General Resource for Talking about Hard Subjects by The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
A study titled “To Strengthen Christ’s Body: Tools for Talking about tough issues” is
- A 7-session guide designed to help Presbyterians become more comfortable and effective in dealing with issues in a congregation’s life.
- Through prayer, Bible study, discussion and skill building, participants learn creative, constructive ways to approach conflict and experience God’s grace.
- Prepare your congregation for discussing the General Assembly proposed amendments
- Identify and explore basic concepts and tools that help address the conflict and disagreements that are a part of everyday life.
- This resources is about general hard topic conversations and is not limited to marriage.
- This $5.00 booklet can be ordered from the www.PCUSAStore.org at http://store.pcusa.org/2435808001 or 1-800-533-4371.
3 thoughts on “Holy Conversations on the Amendments”
Martha – I do have a handout on “Gay Marriage and the Bible” which has notes on the Scripture passages I discussed during the first Holy Conversation. It also has some notes on Presbyterian interpretation of Scripture. I will get that to Laura – that that’s the one I had sent rather than the companion piece that is on the website, “Gay Marriage and the Church.”
Martha, Thank you for your question. We have not posted an expanded version of Ernie’s remarks on the website. We only have the links you see in this article. However, if you contact him directly he might provide that information to you.
The item linked about “a paper summarizing some PCUSA history on this topic and various perspectives people hold on sexuality and Christian faith.” is a summary put together by Ernie Thompson, “Gay Marriage and the Church”.
In the handout there was a listing of suggested reading materials. There is a possibility that the third presentation will be video taped for additional distribution in the Presbytery.
I appreciated the meeting yesterday at Community Pres on this topic. I understand that an expanded version the scriptural references in the handout, along with Ernie Thompson’s remarks are on this website. Please point me to them. Thank you.