I posted links to parts one and two earlier in this post, To Those Who Work For Justice.
Here are parts three and four.
These videos show why it is important for congregations to state their welcome to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
Affiliating with More Light Presbyterians can change and enrich your congregation's ministry.
On May 12th, 2008, the congregation I presently serve affiliated with both More Light Presbyterians and with Covenant Network of Presbyterians.
Here is the statement we released after that affiliation and published on our web page.
On May 12th, 2008, the Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tennessee, by a unanimous vote, affiliated with More Light Presbyterians and with the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. First Presbyterian of Elizabethton is a progressive congregation that has a range of social justice ministries, while embracing scholarship, science, and the insights from the world’s religions.We include the following statement on the cover of our bulletin:
We are an inclusive, welcoming congregation for all people regardless of race, ethnic identity, economic status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. In a climate of discrimination within the church against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, First Presbyterian affirms the mission of More Light Presbyterians:
"Following the risen Christ, and seeking to make the Church a true community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians is to work for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA)."
First Presbyterian in a time of division affirms the inclusive vision and unity of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians:
"The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is a broad-based, national group of clergy and lay leaders working for a church that is simultaneously faithful, just, and whole. We seek to support the mission and unity of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in a time of potentially divisive controversy. We intend to articulate and act on the church's historic, progressive vision and to work for a fully inclusive church. We are committed to finding a way both to live out the graciously hospitable gospel we have received and to live together with all our fellow members in the PC(USA)."
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton is a member church of Holston Presbytery and works with its sister congregations in cooperative ministry and witness while affirming the mission of Holston Presbytery:
* To proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; * To serve Christ by helping Presbyterian congregations within its boundaries to serve Him; * To coordinate the mission to which the Presbytery itself is called; and * To interpret the work and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA) for its own members and for all others in this region.
First Presbyterian invites you to become a part of our fellowship as we worship God and serve others in the spirit of Jesus Christ. With a commitment to achieving a just and peaceful world community our congregation welcomes those of every age, gender, sexual orientation, race and ethic identity.This isn't the end of a process of welcome. It is only the beginning. We are on a journey to live out our statements of welcome, to name our own prejudices, and to work together to break down all walls of division. We are thrilled that our declaration of welcome has resulted in the inclusion of people who swore they would never darken a church door again. We have a long way to go. I personally am grateful to be a part of a congregation that is willing to take the first steps.