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

Thursday, November 5, 2009

St. Andrew and First Presbyterian

First Presbyterian has begun a congregational-wide process of discernment an dialogue over whether the church should allow its sanctuary to be used for wedding ceremonies for same-gendered couples. We've been talking about St. Andrew beginning a similar process.

Here are some reasons why both churches could concern going through part of this process together:
  • A Need to Continue the Discussion: St. Andrew Presbyterian Church’s theological/faith community stance on the ordination of gays and lesbians and on same-sex marriage is continuing to unfold and congregation members are asking for the discussion to continue beyond our eight-week Adult Education class.
  • Common Issue: Both churches are linked on this issue already by the Session decisions made concerning Michelle Wikner and Michelle Norman’s wedding
  • Continuing Hospitality: First Presbyterian graciously hosted many St. Andrew members for the wedding.
  • Strengthening Ties: There has been some tension over this between churches. Gathering together can do away with that tension, build understanding, strengthen our relationship as local Presbyterian brothers and sisters in Christ, and could lead to future common ministry efforts.
  • Family Reunion: There is still a clear memory at First Presbyterian, even after 50 years, that they are St. Andrew’s founding church. Because of this relationship, they are more attuned to the life and mission of St. Andrew. Many apparently know the discussions we are currently encountering and they are concerned about St. Andrew. As surprising as this sentiment might be to many at St. Andrew, entering into a process alongside members of First Presbyterian may have the positive overtones of a family reunion.

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