Welcome Commissioners & Youth Advisory Delegates!
The 192nd General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church may consider proposed amendments that seek to limit or usurp the rightful authority of our diverse sessions and presbyteries to ordain individuals they determine are qualified. We have prepared this resource page for commissioners and youth advisory delegates where we share Rev. Abby Cole Keller’s call to unity, a list of concerns with the exclusionary memorials, the stories of a few LGBTQ+ Cumberland Presbyterians, and their supporters, as well as scriptural and theological resources that we hope will be helpful as you discern together what is the wisest course of action for the Church.
Two years ago, Commissioner Rev. Joy Warren of Murfreesboro Presbytery submitted a resolution to bring the stories of LGBTQIA+ members and leaders and other scriptural and theological resources before commissioners. Since LGBTQIA+ Cumberland Presbyterians are among those who will be most impacted by these amendments, we believe it is an ethical imperative to consider them, their stories and the recommended scriptural and theological resources. We believe that those wanting to do their due diligence, will consider these voices and resources carefully.
As members of the body of Christ we are called to love one another and as an expression of that love to listen to each other, affirming the even greater common ground we enjoy and embrace as Cumberland Presbyterians:
“We acknowledge that within both Cumberland Presbyterian denominations there is a wide range of biblical understanding and interpretation. With that said, we should resolve – first and foremost – to love one another, and as an expression of that love to listen to each other, affirming the even greater common ground we enjoy and embrace as Cumberland Presbyterians. Our goal need not be one hundred percent agreement on biblical interpretation, but rather a mature awareness and consideration of the diversity of theological perspectives that a global and multi-ethnic denomination manifests.” ~ Unified Committee on Theology and Social Concerns Study Paper: A Question of Hermeneutics, Adopted in 2017 by the 187th General Assembly (CPC) and the 145th General Assembly (CPCA)
Please read these appeals to commissioners & youth advisory delegates
- Message to Commissioners from Rev. Abby Cole Keller
- Unity Amidst Diversity: By the Grace of God by Commissioner Matt McDonell
We respectfully request that you consider as a part of your deliberations the following resources:
- We urge the General Assembly to deny these exclusionary amendments because they attempt to usurp the rightful and appropriate authority and discretion of our diverse presbyteries and sessions to ordain individuals they deem qualified. For the sake of the unity, it is essential to recognize the ongoing reality that the church consists of those who in good faith come to different interpretative conclusions on the complex issue of sexuality and its members will exercise the prerogative to live according to their conscience. We believe the wisest path forward for the church is to continue to respect the rightful authority of our sessions and presbytery to ordain whom they deem qualified, respect freedom of conscience on same-sex relationships, and practice tolerance and forbearance towards those they disagree with rather than attempting to force universal conformity.
- Japan’s Response to Proposed Amendments
- On Respecting the Blessing of Conscience
- Open Letter for Freedom of Conscience on Human Sexuality
- Open Letter: Youth and Young Adult Statement on Inclusion
- A Theological Statement on Inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ Community in the CP Church
Stories of those who will be impacted by the amendments
Our stories are an expression of our commitment to God, to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and to sharing the truth of our experiences and our faith. They are a step towards deeper connection and greater unity as we seek to break down any walls that may exist between us.
We invited folks to share their stories in order to help commissioners and delegates know a few of those whom their decision will affect most directly. Please understand that LGBTQ+ Cumberland Presbyterians are already faithfully serving the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Their stories reveal the damage that comes when people seek to limit God’s call on the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the CP Church. These stories are an expression of a deep commitment to God, to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and to sharing the truth of our experiences and our faith. They are a step towards deeper connection and greater unity as we seek to break down any walls that may exist between us. Thanks for watching.