"Covenant of Affirmation"

Adopted June 30, 1997 by the Session of the Lowe Avenue Presbyterian Church in Omaha, Nebraska


[Note from Cleve Evans of Lowe Avenue: Please forward this to all appropriate lists and discussion groups. And feel free to make copies and disseminate it through any other means also. We want as many sessions to adopt this as soon as possible.

When other sessions adopt this, in addition to sending copies to the national and presbytery Stated Clerks, please have them send notification of their adoption to either myself or my pastor through e-mail (Cleve Evans, cevans@scholars.bellevue.edu; or Lorna Kuyk, lorna.kuyk@pcusa.org), or to the following U.S. Mail address:

Cleve Evans, Mission Chair
Lowe Avenue Presbyterian Church
1023 N. 40th Street
Omaha, NE 68131

We'd like to encourage churches to modify the "whereases" however they want, but no matter how these are changed, if a session adopts the gist of the "Therefore" paragraph we hope they'll tell us about it.

Finally, before I type out the Covenant, a word about Lowe Avenue: we are an inner city church that will celebrate its 110th anniversary on July 3. We have only 61 members, average age in the 70s, and undoubtedly more "working class" than most Presbyterian congregations. At this moment we can only afford to pay a stated supply pastor a one-third time salary; in other words, we are a congregation "at risk" - but I'm proud to say that when we discussed this tonight every session member present was strongly for it. Though perhaps it doesn't take quite as much courage to sign on to this "affirmation" as it does to sign on to a Covenant of Dissent, I am very, very proud of my little church for starting the ball rolling on this Affirmation of "B-plus". (And I think it will mean a great deal to them if we can get a lot of other sessions to sign on with us!)]


 

 

"COVENANT OF AFFIRMATION"

 

Whereas the newly-adopted Section G-6.0106b of the Book of Order (formerly "Amendment B") attempts to impose one particular understanding of God's will and Biblical interpretation about controversial issues of sexuality upon all members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and in so doing has deepened the conflicts within our denomination;

Whereas Section G-6.0106b, if scrupulously applied, would encourage nominating committees in local congregations as well as candidates' committees in presbyteries to invade the privacy of persons being considered for ordination, and/or lead to hypocrisy concerning the many issues the confessions of our church call "sin";

Whereas Section G-6.0106b has already caused severe problems in ministry for Presbyterians who wish to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to homosexual and bisexual persons, their families and friends, and many other concerned individuals both within and without the church;

Whereas the new language proposed for section G-6.0106b by the 209th General Assembly calls church officers to "lead a life in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture and instructed by the historic confessional standards of the church" and so restores the proper relationship between Christ, Scripture, and the confessions found in the Reformed tradition;

Whereas the language proposed by the 209th General Assembly calls all officers to "demonstrate fidelity and integrity in marriage or singleness, and in all relationships of life", removing the undue focus of the present G-6.0106b on sexual issues;

Whereas we believe with the 209th General Assembly that the proposed new section G-6.0106b will call us to "common ground in the one spirit of Jesus Christ" and "allow us the grace and the space to grow toward rebirth as a community of God's people";

Whereas we affirm with Paul that "in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no male and female" (Galatians 3:28) and believe that the proposed new language for G-6.0106b will allow the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and our own congregation to more fully embody Jesus Christ's inclusive Gospel to all our diverse brothers and sisters in our community and world;

THEREFORE, the Session of Lowe Avenue Presbyterian Church by unanimous vote AFFIRMS the 209th General Assembly's proposed revisions of G-6.0106b, URGES our presbytery and all presbyteries to pass this amendment, and PLEDGES to work for greater inclusivity in our congregation and denomination while continuing to discuss and discern God's will for our Church.


Be it resolved that the Clerk of Session send copies of this resolution to (1) the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), (2) the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Missouri River Valley, (3) the Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Missouri River Valley, and (4) the congregation of Lowe Avenue Presbyterian Church through the newsletter or other appropriate means.

Adopted June 30, 1997

 


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