At the 2014 General Assembly, the question of whether the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) should allow its ministers to perform same-sex marriages was one of the most divisive issues up for a vote.
Two years before that, it was whether gay and lesbians who were sexually active could be ordained. The PC(USA) answered yes.
And this year, a controversial overture from the Presbytery of New York City asks the 2016 General Assembly to admit “the PC(USA) has been wrong in the way it has treated the LGBTQ/Q community” and to apologize “as an act of forgiveness, healing, mercy and reconciliation.”
Overture 50 will be considered by the assembly’s Social Justice Issues committee and has concurrences so far from Chicago, Genesee Valley and Hudson River presbyteries.
And the idea of apologizing has proved divisive in itself – with the Covenant Network of Presbyterians and That All May Freely Serve, allies in the fight for full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the denomination, coming down in different places on Overture 50.The Covenant Network opposes the overture; More Light Presbyterians would like the overture amended to initiate a truth and reconciliation process.
The overture has sparked much conversation – including questions about:
- Whether it really would bring healing.
- Whether it allows for freedom of conscience.
- What reconciliation work the church needs to do in other areas – for example, with people of color; with indigenous people; with women.
- Whether the overture goes too far – or not far enough.
The following are a sampling of the range of views on Overture 50 – including some (but not all) pieces of commentary circulating around the PC(USA) on the issue. We will add new pieces as they are posted around the web. Please bookmark this page and return to see these updates.
Here’s some of what Presbyterians have written about the idea of the General Assembly issuing an apology:
6/2 Janet Edwards – An amended overture could pave charitable way forward
5/4 Ken Cuthbertson – Reflections from a retired gay pastor.
4/15 Layton E. Williams – Thoughts from a bisexual pastor.
4/13 Will McGarvey – Response to Barbara Wheeler
4/13 Stephanie Anthony – Something huge happened over the last two years.
4/13 Chris Paige — Thoughts from “one of the disappeared.”
4/12 Beth Brown – Attempts at reconciliation “will pave the way for others who have been harmed.”
4/11 Renee Roederer – Does the PC(USA) need a Jubilee Year of Reconcilation?
4/8 Barbara Wheeler – The overture “breaks the promise of freedom of conscience.”