Welcome Members of Presbytery!
The members of each presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church bear the responsibility of voting on proposed amendments that will impact the ability of our diverse sessions and presbyteries across the denomination to ordain and call the individuals they deem qualified for their specific contexts. The vote involves more than one’s personal views. We need to think about the church as a whole, one that includes members and congregations with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Diligent presbyters will want to listen to and understand the different sides of the debate. To assist in this important decision-making process, we have prepared this discernment resource page. You will find a historic letter from 13 Former Moderators of the Church, appeals to unity amid our differences, a list of concerns with the exclusionary memorials, the stories of a few LGBTQ+ Cumberland Presbyterians, and our fellow Cumberland Presbyterians who support them, along with relevant scriptural and theological materials. We hope that these resources will aid you in your collective discernment of the wisest course of action for the Church as a whole.
An Open Letter from 13 Former Moderators
Call to Listen to Each Other & Affirm Our Common Ground
“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)
Duty of Christians to Exercise Tolerance
“While it is necessary that all who are admitted as teachers should be sound in the faith, nevertheless there are doctrines and forms with respect to which men of good character and principles may differ; and in all these it is the duty of all private Christians and religious bodies to exercise forbearance toward one another.” (Introduction to the 1883 Cumberland Presbyterian Confession)
Jesus prayed that we be one in John 17. Please read these appeals for a unity deeper than complete agreement:
We respectfully request that you consider as a part of your deliberations the following resources:
- We urge the Church to deny these exclusionary amendments because. They threaten both personal privacy and the rightful and appropriate authority and discretion of our diverse presbyteries and sessions to ordain those individuals they deem qualified. For the sake of the unity, it is crucial 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. As “God alone is Lord of the Conscience,” members should have the prerogative to live according to their conscience. We believe the wisest, most prudent path forward for the church is to continue respecting the rightful authority of our sessions and presbyteries to ordain those they deem qualified, uphold privacy and freedom of conscience for personal relationships, and practice tolerance and forbearance towards those with differing views, rather than seeking to force universal conformity. Continue reading…
- Japan Presbytery’s Response to Proposed Amendments
- Ed Adair’s Recommendation to Reject the Proposed Amendments
- Rev. Dr. George Estes Opposes Amendments
- Reasons to Deny 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
We invited folks to share their stories in order to help leaders of the church know a few of those whom their decision will affect most directly. Since LGBTQ+ 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.
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 Church. These stories are expression of a deep commitment to God, to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and to sharing the truth of our experiences and our faith. We hope they will be a step towards deeper connection and greater unity as we seek to break down any walls that may exist between us. Thanks for reading and watching.
Our Stories Project:
Written Accounts by Cumberland Presbyterians
- God Has Called Me To Serve (minister)
- Our Lives Have Callings on Them (minister)
- Our Stories Project (entire collection)
Why do Cumberland Presbyterians support tolerance for leaders in same-sex relationships? Listen to these personal stories from your siblings in Christ:
Let’s hear from our siblings in Christ who will be impacted by these amendments.
Testimonials by LGBTQ+ Members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Want to learn more? Visit our RESOURCES page for more in-depth theological explorations regarding inclusion. You may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re an all-volunteer effort, but we’ll reply as soon as possible.