Covenant Network dialogues on social justice issues

Denise Anderson, Jerrod Lowry and Jessica Vazquez Torres await their turns as Bruce Reyes-Chow shares thoughts on justice in the church.

PORTLAND, Ore. – While celebrating major breakthroughs of recent years, the speakers at the Covenant Network’s General Assembly luncheon urged continued vigilance for a mission far from complete.

Executive director Brian Ellison introduced Clifton Kirkpatrick, Covenant Network board member and former stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), who outlined the organization’s goals for the assembly. Those goals include resisting attempts to turn back from the authorization of ordaining and marrying LGBTQ persons. The organization has stated a broadened vision to promote other justice matters, which had lead them to promote final approval of the Belhar Confession, to lend support to a United Nation’s initiative to oppose gender and sexual orientation discrimination and to support the denomination’s continued boldness in speaking out on justice matters.

On the other hand, Kirkpatrick reiterated the organization’s opposition to asking the GA commissioners to issue an apology for the denomination’s past prohibitions against same-sex marriage and ordination of openly, actively LGBTQ persons – lest the Network not be fulfilling its promises to make space for those with whom they are in disagreement on such matters.

The lunch banquet featured a panel of speakers – each sharing personal reflections on justice matters. The speakers were Bruce Reyes-Chow, Jessica Vazques Torres, Jerrod Lowry and T. Denise Anderson.