Pastoral Letter on Marriage from the PCUSA & OGA Leadership
June 19, 2014
Â To congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.):
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Earlier today, the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved a recommendation from its Assembly Committee on Civil Union and Marriage Issues allowing for pastoral discretion to perform â€œany such marriage they believe the Holy Spirit calls them to perform,â€ where legal by state law.
They also approved a recommendation to change language in theÂ Book of OrderÂ to indicate that â€œmarriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.â€
Both decisions came with much thought, discussion, and prayer, and clearly the entire body that is the PC(USA) will be interpreting these actions for some time.
Please know that the same triune God in whom we place our hope, faith, and trust inÂ isÂ still in control, and that the assemblyâ€™s action today is the result of deep discernment to hear Godâ€™s voice and discern Godâ€™s will.
We concur with the feelings expressed by Teaching Elder Commissioner Jeffrey Bridgeman, moderator of the Assembly Committee on Civil Union and Marriage Issues, during his presentation to the assembly.
â€œThe apostle Paul tells us that ours is, in fact, â€˜the ministry of reconciliationâ€™ as â€˜ambassadors of Christ,â€™ and he died for us so that we might be reconciled, that we might become reconcilers,â€ Bridgeman said.
In this season of both happiness and sadness over the assemblyâ€™s decisions, we call on you to remember the overflowing grace and love God gifts us with, and to take seriously our charge to bestow the same grace and love on one another.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
Ruling Elder Heath K. Rada
Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014)
The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Ruling Elder Linda Bryant Valentine