The Welcoming Blog

The Welcoming Blog2021-06-21T14:40:59-05:00

Rev. Dr. George Estes Opposes Amendments

As follows is a letter from Honorably Retired Minister, Rev. Dr. George R. Estes, expressing opposition to proposed amendments to the Church Constitution. These amendments intend to remove persons in same-sex relationships from church leadership: In a church fight, the first casualty is the gospel. Those whom our Lord especially charged to love one another find themselves harboring feelings of suspicion, anger and competitiveness toward brothers and sisters in Christ.

By |January 18th, 2024|

From Welcome to Mission: A Pastor’s Transformative Response to the AIDS Crisis

Rev. Betty Youngman by Rev. Betty Youngman My first pastorate was with the Meadowbrook Church in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a small congregation located in what was called “a transitional” neighborhood… elderly folk were moving out and mostly African-American families were moving in. I frequently preached that we should welcome whoever came to our door, and the congregation affirmed this goal. Among those we welcomed was a

By |December 1st, 2023|

Our Stories: God Has Called Me To Serve

Faithful servants of God and the church are facing a profound challenge as they await a decision on the amendments being deliberated in the presbyteries. These are their stories... God Has Called Me To Serve Anonymous Cumberland Presbyterian Minister In the rural area where I grew up, we assumed that everyone was alike. The reality, as I came to understand, is that everyone is different in their own way. I

By |September 23rd, 2023|

Our Stories: Our Lives Have Callings on Them

As presbyteries deliberate upon proposed amendments that intend to exclude a whole class of persons, let us bear in mind the gravity of these changes. They will profoundly impact the lives of individuals already faithfully serving within our denomination, especially those who identify as LGBTQ+, their families, and their congregations. For personal insight into these issues, we share a story from an anonymous Cumberland Presbyterian minister. Their story serves to

By |September 15th, 2023|

Proposed Constitutional Amendments (2023)

Presented below are the proposed constitutional amendments taken from the "Summary of Actions" provided by Michael Sharpe, Stated Clerk of the Assembly. These amendments were deliberated upon during the 192nd General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which convened in Denton, Texas, from June 19 to 23, 2023, where they narrowly passed with a one-vote margin. The next step involves presbyteries voting. However, they cannot be incorporated into the church

By |September 5th, 2023|

An Open Letter from 13 Former Moderators

We are grateful to share an open letter from thirteen of nineteen former living General Assembly moderators who stand united in opposition to the proposed exclusionary constitutional amendments. These individuals, representing various theological perspectives, have come together out of their deep love for our denomination and shared hope for its vibrant future. They wisely implore us to consider the harmful implications of these amendments, urging thoughtful discernment and reflection. We

By |September 5th, 2023|

Recommendation to Reject the Proposed Amendments to The Cumberland Presbyterian Church Constitution

Ed Adair This article highlights how the proposed amendments present multiple issues relative to their interpretation, implementation, application, and enforcement. Originally published as a Letter to the Editor in the Cumberland Presbyterian magazine, it has been reprinted here with some edits. The author, Edward H. Adair, holds a law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law, class of 1985, and has served in roles such as

By |August 7th, 2023|

Reasons to Deny Proposed Amendments (2023)

Welcoming Cumberland Presbyterians is an independent grassroots movement of LGBTQ+ Cumberland Presbyterians and clergy, elders and laity who wish to increase participation in the church by living out our confessional calling to seek reconciliation among all groups of people (CoF, 6.32) and embrace all people in the life of the church (CoF, 6.16). The proposed amendments seek to modify the Constitution of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in such a way

By |June 21st, 2023|

Hear the Stories of our LGBTQ+ Allies

Welcome to our new series of videos, where Cumberland Presbyterian clergy and laity share their personal journeys of reconciling faith and the Bible with acceptance and support for our LGBTQ siblings. Inspired by the 1984 Confession of Faith, which encourages us to embrace one another (6.16) with the grace of Christ (5.10), share insights, and grow together (1.07), this series aims to foster a spirit of dialogue and understanding. Watch

By |June 17th, 2023|

“Your Call Is a Call to All of Us”

A message from Reverend Lisa Anderson, pastor of Colonial Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Moderator of the 184th General Assembly: Nine years ago a very unexpected thing happened. After saying no four times to people in my presbytery, I agreed to be nominated for Moderator of our General Assembly. About this time on that Monday I began to read all of the texts, messages, emails and listen to voice mail messages from

By |June 17th, 2023|

“Song of Change” by Rev. Dwight Liles

Rev. Dwight Liles As described in the Confession of Faith for Cumberland Presbyterians, the church, both as a collective and through its individual members, has a calling to promote reconciliation, love, and justice among all individuals, classes, races, and nations (6.32). These values are at the core of our beliefs as a church, and so we should strive to live them out in our daily lives. That's why we're

By |April 23rd, 2023|

Japan Presbytery’s Response to the Proposed Amendments to the Constitution

On March 11, 2023, Japan Presbytery publicly announced their official response to the proposed exclusionary amendments to the Constitution of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America. Japan Presbytery urges the church to carefully consider its concerns and reject the proposed amendments, in part, because their approval will hinder the church's evangelistic efforts. The full statement follows: Japan Presbytery’s Response to the Proposed Amendments to the

By |March 21st, 2023|

Statement on Ending Conversion “Therapy”

A grassroots call to support the wellness of LGBTQ+ individuals by ending efforts to change their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Sign Statement! Sexual orientation and gender identity or expression change efforts (SOGIECE) including conversion “therapy” (sometimes referred to as “reparative therapy,” “reintegrative therapy,” “therapy for those experiencing same-sex attraction [SSA],”) refers to a range of dangerous and discredited practices that aim to change, deny, or suppress

By |February 4th, 2023|

Church Called to Prayer & Action After Club Q Shooting

In the wake of the November 19th, 2022, mass shooting at a queer nightclub in Colorado Springs, Welcoming Cumberland Presbyterians urges church leaders across the U.S. and around the world to pray over the tragic loss of five lives and for healing for the 18 injured victims, and for their families and loved ones. Survivors of the Club Q shooting have pointed to the ongoing use of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric by

By |December 29th, 2022|

Rev. Lisa Anderson Speaks Out After Club Q Shooting

Rev. Lisa Anderson Following the Club Q Shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which killed five children of God, injured at least eighteen, and left countless people across the country traumatized, Reverend Lisa Hall Anderson, the founding executive director of Room in the Inn-Memphis and pastor of Colonial Cumberland Presbyterian Church condemned hateful rhetoric and exclusion targeting the LGBTQ+ community. Calling for repentance, Rev. Anderson wrote: "What we

By |November 21st, 2022|

Cumberland Presbyterians Denounce White Supremacist Gathering at Montgomery Bell State Park

The Statement On the hallowed grounds where the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was born, White supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Klansmen will meet again November 18 - 20, 2022, to espouse their hateful beliefs. At the American Renaissance conference, participants desecrate the site as they justify, plan, and teach their racist version of American culture in the shelter of Tennessee's Public Land, Montgomery Bell State Park. As a grassroots group of concerned

By |November 9th, 2022|

Resolution of Repentance, Apology, and Resolve

Adopted by the 2016 Cumberland Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly: Whereas, we Cumberland Presbyterians are considering the call of God to “Go” during this 186th meeting of the General Assembly; and Whereas, Jesus sent the twelve with these instructions: “As you go, proclaim the good news. The kingdom of heaven has come near. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” (Matthew 10:7-8); and Whereas, we seek

By |November 9th, 2022|

In Christ, We Stand Against Exclusion & Oppression

Statement from a grassroots body of concerned Cumberland Presbyterians who take seriously our Call to love and minister in partnership with our siblings in Christ without regard for race, gender identity, or sexual orientation toward the realization of the Kingdom of God: In anticipation of our 191st General Assembly held in June 2022, many Cumberland Presbyterians were aware that Commissioners to that Assembly would be considering at least two exclusionary

By |October 30th, 2022|

Unity Amidst Diversity: By the Grace of God

By Matt McDonell Are we to be distracted by questions about sexual orientation, when we allow murderers to stand in the pulpit? Okay, I admit it, that headline is sensationalized and intended to grab your attention, but if you’re willing to stick with me for a bit I think you’ll see what I’m trying to say. There has been sharp division among Christians on the question of killing for as

By |October 10th, 2022|

LGBTQI+ Solidarity Sunday

Ecumenical/Interfaith Anti-Violence Initiative Sunday, October 8, 2023 (or anytime in October) Join us in observing Solidarity Sunday, October 8th, 2023. Individuals from diverse faiths will pray together for an end to violence, hate, and harassment directed against our LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex) neighbors, as well as all groups subjected such injustices. Anti-LGBTQI+ violence, hate, and harassment are a plague upon our churches, communities and world. In

By |September 1st, 2022|

I must stand in dissent and protest

Rev. Dwight Liles Rev. Dwight Liles writes regarding the exclusionary statement approved by the 191st General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church: I cannot be silent about this, at whatever risk. I cannot be silent. The Confession of Faith of my denomination, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, states in article 6.31 the following: "The covenant community affirms the lordship of Christ who sought out the poor, the oppressed, the

By |June 24th, 2022|

Testimonies of Diverse Cumberland Presbyterians

There are a diversity of Cumberland Presbyterians faithfully serving the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and they have been gifts to the denomination throughout its history. We invited a few folks to share their stories in order to help people throughout the church know a few of those whom the exclusionary amendments and discussions on LGBTQ+ inclusion affect most directly. These stories reveal deep faith and commitment to the church but

By |June 22nd, 2022|

Concerns with Exclusionary Memorials (2022)

Welcoming Cumberland Presbyterians is a grassroots movement of LGBTQIA+ Cumberland Presbyterians and clergy, elders and laity who wish to increase participation in the church by living out our confessional calling to seek reconciliation among all groups of people and embrace all people in the life of the church. We have read and studied the memorials from Arkansas and Grace Presbyteries and find them to be divisive, exclusionary, unnecessary and even

By |June 21st, 2022|

Prayer for 191st General Assembly

We offer this prayer as the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church meets in its 191st session this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Loving God, we offer you thanks and praise! As the week of General Assembly begins, we hold in prayer all who are travelling and making final preparations. We lift up each and every commissioner and youth advisory delegate and ask that you grant them openness, wisdom

By |June 18th, 2022|

Message to Commissioners from Rev. Abby Cole Keller

Rev. Abby Cole Keller Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second

By |June 17th, 2022|

On Respecting the Blessing of Conscience

When I was an adolescent, I pictured my conscience as being God’s way of speaking to me—reminding me, when faced with a choice of two paths to take, that there was generally a right path and a wrong path, and helping me to choose the right one. Or if I chose the wrong path—as I sometimes did, despite the urging of my conscience—that the guilt I subsequently felt was the

By |June 28th, 2021|

A Theological Statement on the Inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ Community

A Theological Statement on Inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ Community in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (CPC) by Rev. Chris Warren The inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community in Christian Churches is an important topic for the Church of the early 21st century. Many have chosen a “side” and have become entrenched. Something like a battle line has been drawn. For the traditionalist, a common sense reading of scripture is clearly against same-sex

By |June 21st, 2021|

Open Letter for Freedom of Conscience on Human Sexuality

To: The Unified Committee on Theology and Social Concerns From: A grassroots body of concerned Cumberland Presbyterians advocating for the freedom of conscience bequeathed to all of us by our founders, specifically concerning a denominational position on human sexuality Pursuant to the granting of its request (from the 189th General Assembly) for more time to consider the issues surrounding the development of a denominational statement on human sexuality, the Unified

By |June 21st, 2021|

Cumberland Presbyterian Youth and Young Adult Statement on Inclusion

June 28, 2021 Dear Members of the Committee on Theology and Social Concerns and Unification Task Force, First, I want to thank you for your dedication and attention to this matter. I know that many in our churches have pushed for a quick answer or a hurried response, and I am heartened and grateful for your deliberateness and careful consideration of each person’s voice. Attached to this note is the

By |June 21st, 2021|

Resolution to Not Divide West Tennessee Presbytery

West Tennessee Presbytery met Saturday, March 5, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. Presbytery approved petitioning the Synod of Great Rivers to divide West Tennessee Presbytery along “orthodox” and “progressive” theological lines. As Welcoming Cumberland Presbyterians envisions a reconciled church, we grieve this proposed division and ask each reader to join in prayer for the unity of the whole church and for the people of West Tennessee presbytery including all our vulnerable

By |March 30th, 2022|

Lena’s harts

Lena’s harts by Jon Breeding Thank you for the recent videos sharing your stories. My name is Jon Breeding and I grew up in Tennessee in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. My father graduated from Bethel College in the early 1960s. He finished seminary in Memphis and began his ministry in Tennessee. My mother is currently an active member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church in her town and continues

By |February 14th, 2022|

Trans Day of Remembrance

November 20th is Trans Day of Remembrance--a day we honor and hold in prayer those who have lost their lives due to transphobia and anti-trans hatred, draw attention to continued acts of violence endured by trans people, and commit to making the church and world a place where trans, non-binary, and gender diverse people can thrive. A special joint Trans Day of Remembrance worship service led by Rev. Ainsley Herrick,

By |November 20th, 2021|

Prayer for 190th General Assembly

We offer this prayer as the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church meets in its 190th session this week in Louisville, Kentucky. Let us pray: Loving God, you have fearfully and wonderfully made all people in your own image. We thank and praise you for the beauty of your creation. We ask you to lead and guide the General Assembly as this body seeks to discern your will, and

By |June 30th, 2021|

Concerns with Proposed Statement on Sexuality

Welcoming Cumberland Presbyterians is a grassroots ministry within the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination made up of clergy and laity which exists to increase participation in the church by welcoming and fully including people of all sexualities and gender expressions. We have read and studied the proposed Statement on Human Sexuality submitted to the General Assembly by the Unified Committee of Theology and Social Concerns. The following lines from the proposed statement

By |June 29th, 2021|

GA Resolution: Listen to LGBTQ+ & Allies Voices

A Resolution Presented to the 190th General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Whereas, The 190th General Assembly will consider approval of a proposed “Statement on Human Sexuality” submitted by the Unified Committee on Theology and Social Concerns; and Whereas, The 187th General Assembly adopted a study paper titled “A Question of Hermeneutics” which is quoted in the proposed “Statement on Human Sexuality” before this Assembly, saying: “ . .

By |June 28th, 2021|

From Where I Stand: Limiting God?

Language is important. The way we think and talk about people and ideas affects our perception and understanding of them. When my daughter was a baby, she didn't have much hair. Joy and I would take her out somewhere, and people would come up to see the beautiful new baby (she was and is beautiful). It didn't matter that she was dressed in a frilly pink dress with a pink

By |June 22nd, 2021|

Protest to Adoption of “A Resolution Affirming a Biblical and Confessional Position on Marriage and Sexuality for West Tennessee Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church

The signatories of this document wish to register the following Protest against the action taken today by West Tennessee Presbytery regarding the Resolution. Accordingly, we ask, a) that this Protest be entered into the minutes of West Tennessee Presbytery, and b) that this Protest be referred to the Committee on Judicial Concerns, as provided for in Section 5.64 of the Presbytery Manual of Operation and approved by the 158th General

By |June 22nd, 2021|

A Response to “Statement on Homosexual Activity and Marriage in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church”

Delegates at the June 2017 meeting of West Tennessee Presbytery received a “Statement on Homosexual Activity and Marriage in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church” and referred it to the October 7, 2017, meeting for discussion and consideration. The statement requested that ministers and elders who are “unable to agree with these statements” should “state their disagreements and be prepared to defend them, as we are....” This response is our attempt to

By |June 22nd, 2021|

Welcome is the essence of Cumberland Presbyterianism

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear recently. I suspect I haven’t been alone. In the last couple of years especially, we’ve had ample reasons not only to think about and observe its insidious and repressive power to subvert what is right and good, but for too many of us, to actually *experience* it as a part of daily life. Prominent elected officials at every level of government have become

By |June 21st, 2021|

Embracing the Rainbow Community

Today, we're learning about the variety of groups that make up the rainbow community of people. The identities illustrated in this graphic help us to understand the differences or variations—the diversity—that exists in the arena of human sexuality. Through awareness of and respect for this diversity, we come to recognize people who are often too excluded and made invisible. According to the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith, “The church recognizes

By |June 21st, 2021|

An Open Letter from a Gay Christian Pastor to My Non-Gay Colleagues in Ministry

In 1995 I was fired from my position as Minister of Music and Assistant to the Pastor at a Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The reason for my dismissal? Being gay and in a loving committed relationship with my spouse, Gary Eddy. The pastor of the church knew about our relationship and had even attended our wedding. He promised to stand with me when I decided to come out to the elders

By |June 20th, 2021|

Cumberland Presbyterians and Gay Christians, A Forum

Report shared by Rev. Carolyn Smith Goings, PhD, Joint Committee on Theology and Social Concerns, New Hopewell (CPCA) and West TN (CPC) Presbyteries Cumberland Presbyterians gathered on 6 November 2016 and on 22 January 2017 for a two-part forum, “Cumberland Presbyterians and Gay Christians,” held at Bethel University and Memphis Theological Seminary, respectively. The purpose of the forum, hosted by the Joint Committee on Theology and Social Concerns of the

By |April 1st, 2017|

An Open Letter from a Cumberland Presbyterian Elder on National Coming Out Day

An open letter from Mark J. Davis to those in the Cumberland Presbyterian LGBT community who publicly revealed their orientation on National Coming Out Day, 11 October 2015: First of all, I need to make it clear that in expressing the affirmation, support, and encouragement I will express here, I do not do so as a spokesperson for my denomination--I do so solely on the basis of my own Christian

By |October 21st, 2015|
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