Repentance and forgiveness…a beginning
We convey to you the request of Rev.Â MarcÂ BentonÂ for forgiveness in bringing forth the Â charges and legislation that Â producedÂ BentonÂ v. Hudson River, et al. We also refer to Rev. Â Benton’s newly stated support for same gender marriage. In so doing, we Â acknowledge Â hisÂ courage and commitment in taking responsibility for his role in the harm, pain and Â suffering produced by his earlier Â actions.
We also acknowledge South Presbyterian Churchâ€™s Session and pastors, Joe Gilmore and Susan De George, for their ongoing commitment to the LGBTQ/Q community when Rev. BentonÂ insisted that they be investigated and charged for doing same-gender commitment services. It is suchÂ faithful perseverance by these folks and others that are at the heart of the changes we are witnessing today.
We stand firmly alongside,Â deeply indebted and thankful to everyone who has ever been hurt, harmed, punished or pushed away because ofÂ BentonÂ v. Hudson River, et al or any of the other charges, hearing, rulings and deep anguish caused by such actions. We are here to do whatever we can in healing, reconciliation and moving forward so that such actions and harms never happen again.
We pray that Rev.Â Bentonâ€™s decision and forthrightness will prompt others to step up, acknowledging their roles in the harm caused our community and makingÂ amends for their participation in decades of marginalization and exclusion of our Christian sisters and brothers. We encourage and support all who seek assistanceÂ in moving forward on this path, and we will never forget the suffering and pain of others whose lives are the foundation for these changes.
The toughest road, we think, is ahead. This journey for healing will only beÂ complete whenÂ the church accepts its responsibility, admits the harms it has done, and makes amendsÂ for the teachings and prohibitions it has supported and allowed in the discrimination of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and QuestioningÂ community.Â With recent changes to the Book of OrderÂ and those currently under consideration, we feel theÂ church is also charged with taking an active and corporate role in facilitating theseÂ changes.Â We are ready to support such efforts, as well.
“Redemption appears as the liberty to interpret in trustâ€¦
all that happens to us and to which we react as occurring in a final context
of life givingÂ rather than death-dealing.â€ Â H. Richard Niebuhr,Â The Responsible Self
WhenÂ we can witness to one another andÂ the world our faithfulness to the Gospel and all it requiresÂ us to be in love for one another, then perhapsÂ redemption to which we are called will achieve its life-giving purpose.
Cover pageÂ from the Hudson River PresbyteryÂ September 9, 2014
The Rev. Marc Benton, the pastor who brought the suitÂ Benton v. Hudson River PresbyteryÂ that defined PC(USA)â€™s distinction between marriage and holy unions, has repented of his position and is seeking forgiveness from the members of the Hudson River Presbytery.
At Rev. Benton’s request, the Hudson River Presbytery has prepared this press release and is sharing his statement with the wider church.
Attached, please find a the release and Rev. Bentonâ€™s statement.
Rev. Bentonâ€™s statement has been shared with members of the Hudson River Presbytery and he will be joining our presbytery at its regular meeting in September.