Last year, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA appointed a Special Committee to Study Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage. The committee was given two years to study how the theology and practice of marriage have developed in the Reformed tradition and the place of covenanted same-gender partnerships in the Christian community.

This adult education course tries to do something similar over an eight-week period for St. Andrew Presbyterian in Iowa City. Throughout this discussion, we hope to hear from class participants’ personal experiences and questions concerning sexuality and the Presbyterian faith.

For questions or comments, contact Jeff Charis-Carlson at

Monday, September 28, 2009

Local Lutheran response to same-sex relationships

Last week, I asked Carl Beyerhelm, a retired ELCA minister who lives in Iowa City, to write about the recent ELCA decision as his September Writers' Group column for the Press-Citizen. Since Carl is in his early 80s, I wasn't sure what he would think about the ruling.

When I described the ruling to him over the phone -- explaining that the denomination was allowing individual churches to decide for their own congregations -- he said, "That sounds like a very Lutheran solution."

One of the class members suggested that I post a link to Carl's response on our site. Here's his main conclusion:
Our human ideas, feelings and fears about each other, and our differences in gender and sexual orientation don't have to be barriers to good fellowship in our congregations. In the day of Peter and Paul, being Jew or Gentile, God found a way to break down their fears and doubts about each others' background and cultures. With God, we can do the same, using our energy, concern and our unified life in Christ to work for peace and justice and the good life together.

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