March 20, 2015
Brothers and Sisters of Seattle Presbytery,
I'm sure you have read by now that the PCUSA is predicting that the marriage amendment will be approved and become part of our Book of Order this June. It's hard to find another topic that causes so many mixed emotions among us as Presbyterians.
These words from Romans come to mind as we head into what is next for us in Seattle Presbytery: "Love must be genuine. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another." (12:9-16)
This is Paul at his missional, called to be Christ-in-community best. It may be hard to embrace at this moment, but I've seen our presbytery live this authentically and honestly--and I trust we will continue to do so. My prayer is that we live ever more deeply into what this means for us and this world as we seek to witness to the One who gave his life out of his immeasurable love for our world.
I'm grateful for our Stated Clerk, Rev. Karen Breckenridge, who supports all of us by providing more details below.
Rev. Scott Lumsden
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
By now you’ve probably seen reports of the passage of amendment 14F that makes changes to the section on marriage in the Directory for Worship of the Book of Order. The effect of the action is to allow broader discretion to teaching elders and sessions in the weddings they will conduct and host. In states such as ours, this discretion could include same gender marriages. As stated in the amendment itself, this change to the Book of Order cannot be used to compel a teaching elder to perform a marriage service nor can it be used to compel a session to authorize the use of church property for a marriage service that is contrary to their discernment of the Holy Spirit and their understanding of the Word of God.
The Office of the General Assembly has a variety of resources to help us understand and interpret the action that has been taken. Among the available resources are:
• an advisory opinion that answers several questions about the change
• a letter from the General Assembly Moderator and Vice-moderator
• a statement from the General Assembly Stated Clerk
Please visit pcusa.org/marriage to view these and other resources.
Many Presbyterians are experiencing strong feelings about the changes that are happening in our denomination – from joy to sorrow, from grief to celebration. Please join me in continuing to pray for our communities of faith and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we seek to be faithful to Christ’s call in our lives.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Karen Breckenridge