Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bending the Arc

Tonight National Capital Presbytery considered two overtures to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) related to marriage. One would amend the directory of worship’s statement on marriage to make it inclusive of same-gender couples. The other would allow pastors to perform same-gender weddings in civil jurisdictions where such marriages are legal without fear of sanction in church judicial proceedings.
The session at Clarendon unanimously endorsed both of the overtures. The following is the brief statement that I prepared in support of the overtures.
As many of you recall, eight years ago our session decided to no longer authorize the pastor to sign marriage licenses for any couple – same-gender or straight. We changed that policy recently responding to changes in civil law in Maryland and the District, and following the Biblical call to do justice.
In March I will perform the wedding of two men who, last year, celebrated 25 years together. On the 26th anniversary of their first date we’ll hold a service of Christian marriage in the sanctuary at Clarendon, and then adjourn to the Lincoln Memorial to conduct the civil rite.
Ron and James have been members at Clarendon for more than 20 years. James grew up in a Presbyterian church in West Virginia. Each is an elder. James currently serves on session, and Ron is serving as a deacon. The Presbyterian Church has blessed their ordinations; now they seek the blessing of the church on their marriage. They are my brothers in Christ, and I am honored to marry them.
I long for the day when the whole church celebrates with us. These overtures will bring that day closer.

Both overtures passed National Capital Presbytery on voice votes. The question was called while I was standing in line at the mic.

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