The Session continues conversation regarding how to respond to Amendment B. A number of sessions around the country have adopted Covenants of Dissent. The St. Luke Session, wishing to be more positive, adopted this Covenant of Intent at a special meeting held June 4th. We ask for your prayers in our ongoing discernment about further response.
The Session of St. Luke Presbyterian Church affirms our overarching love of God and God's son, Jesus. We joyfully acknowledge Jesus' primacy of teaching and example in guiding our own attempts to lead wholly Christian lives, doing God's work in the world.
We affirm our love for the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the Reformed tradition as a Christian denomination whose confessions and governance we have freely chosen. As a church, we affirm our scriptural and confessional character, as "a joyful, inclusive and compassionate community on a spiritual journey seeking to do justice, to act mercifully, and to walk humbly with God" (St. Luke Vision Statement).
We affirm, as a basic tenet of our faith, that Jesus' life and teachings proclaim openness to and inclusiveness of all peoples. We believe the addition of G-6.0106b to the Book of Order attempts to abridge that undergirding Christian principle. Also, it is itself internally inconsistent and renders the constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA) internally inconsistent. The amendment seeks now to narrow and closely control by law and legalism what the broad, inclusive breath of the Spirit has for millennia proclaimed.
We affirm with the Westminster Confession that all synods or councils err. We believe that a stricture-- internally inconsistent -- cannot be legitimate and cannot be allowed to stand. We believe that G-6.0106b will be found to be in error, both in law and in the spirit of the life and works of Jesus.
Since it is not possible for any member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to be in compliance with a conflicted, self-contradictory rule, we therefore affirm our intention to await its removal or recasting via the denomination's judicial processes or its wholesale removal by the majority will of the presbyteries.
As the Session of St. Luke Presbyterian Church, until G-6.0106b is altered or removed, we intend and affirm that:
1. We remain solidly within the Presbyterian Church (USA) and faithfully committed to full participation in the mission of the Church.
2. We remain a More Light church, as adopted by the Session in 1988, revised in 1992 and reaffirmed by the Session in 1997.
3. We join with other churches working together to make our denomination more open and inclusive and to eliminate patterns or traditions of discrimination.
4. We continue to practice full hospitality for all God's children in our life and work together as a community of Christ's disciples.
5. We extend ourselves as a Sanctuary Church to any persons who are being unjustly harmed or denied either their call into ministry or their right freely to elect their own leaders, pledging to provide emotional, practical and legal support to the fullest extent we are able.
The Covenant of Intent has been received, ratified, and signed this fourth day of June, 1997 by the Session of St. Luke Presbyterian Church, with elders' signatures appearing below.