A Pastoral Letter to Members and Friends of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

NOTE: Full resources from the Office of the General Assembly can be found HERE.

Dear members and friends of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.):

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Presbyteries have been engaged in conversation, discernment, and prayer concerning the recommendations from the 221st General Assembly (2014) in the nine months since Detroit, Michigan. On March 17, 2015, Amendment 14F (On Amending W-4.9000 Marriage) received the required majority from the presbyteries.

The approved amendment to the Book of Order lifts up the sanctity of marriage and the commitment of loving couples within the church. It also allows teaching elders to exercise their pastoral discretion in officiating weddings and in doing so “… the teaching elder may seek the counsel of the session, which has authority to permit or deny the use of church property for a marriage service.”

Though we know that this amendment received the necessary majority for approval, we encourage the congregations, presbyteries, and synods of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to continue to be in conversation about marriage and family. We hope that such “up/down” voting does not mark the end, but the continuation of our desire to live in community; a partnership that requires prayer, the study of Scripture, listening to and with one another, and a dedication to partnership in the midst of our diversity of opinion.

We trust that God whose Word brought Creation into being is also the same Word that speaks to us today. With confidence, we believe that God calls the Church into living as a transformative community that embraces the call to be God’s beloved community in the world.



Ruling Elder Heath K. Rada

Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014)



The Reverend Larissa Kwong Abazia

Vice Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014)

19 thoughts on “A Pastoral Letter to Members and Friends of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

  1. Tim Woodruff, Teaching Elder says:

    When I heard the news this morning I heard something I both expected and dreaded. I knew it was coming to this, but I am deeply rueful and sad that this day has arrived. Now God has very clearly called me to stay within the PCUSA, but I am remain deeply grieved for the PCUSA.
    Increasingly, I cannot tell the difference between my denomination and our unhealthy culture.


    • Lisa says:

      A house divided cannot stand. Unfortunately, passage of this ammendment will eventually cause schism in the denomination. This is indeed a sad turn of events for the PCUSA. I have been a life long Presbyterian, but my loyalty to Christ outweighs the authority of any church denomination.


  2. Lanny Wren says:

    Sorry to hear the news. The church of my family from Scotland through the revolution for well over 400 years has left me. Can not support this. Will not support.


  3. Tracy Waugh says:

    God did not call on us to be transformative to the culture view and mans desires of the world. The scripture could not be clearer in the Old Testament and the New Testament that homosexuality is a SIN. Sin separates us from God. We are to repent! Marriage is between a Man and a Woman. You and the PCUSA should stop this nonsense and REPENT.


  4. Mark R. Patterson, PhD says:

    I am more grateful than ever that our congregation left the PC (USA) for ECO. This decision is a scandal of the deepest proportions and reveals again how far this once faithful church has fallen from the faith and standards it once held precious. It is a very sad day.


  5. Mielle Walther says:

    I am encouraged and pleased to see my church practice the teachings of Jesus: Love and acceptance. And, as someone interesting once said, “you’re against gay marriage?…..don’t get gay married.”


    • Lisa says:

      Apparently you’ve forgotten about the Law, which was never set aside. Grace covers a multitude of sins from a repentant heart. What about the heart that continues to sin without repentance? Yes, we are to love, because the Father loves us. But we cannot love sin.


  6. Tom Hunter says:

    Cultural correctness does not equate to spiritual correctness. The PC USA will continue to erode because they have chosen the path of Pontius Pilate who popularity over righteousness.


  7. nwafor says:

    The Presbyterian church USA has failed. It is the result of hypocrisy of the church. The church has abandoned the scripture and discarded the teachings therein and instead chose to please the dictates of the flesh.
    Sodomy was roundly condemned by the Scripture and here the church that is supposed to be representative of Christ here on earth with the Scripture as its guide has left its duty and is now struggling to please the world. What a shame.
    Those from presbyterian Church Nigeria are ashamed of your action.
    You have down the seed of your own destruction.
    No matter what you as a church and USA as nation do, you cannot becloud God.
    Both the church and your nation’s insensitivity to the sacrosanctity of marriage institution will bring you to shame and expose the emptiness of the church.


  8. Bob says:

    As a gay man, I’m proud that the church I love have made this affirmation of me and others like me.

    And for all those who are saying the church has abandon scripture, I have a question – if we look at all scriptures, why isn’t there an objection to marrying non-virgins, or divorcees, or …. I’m not conceding that being gay is a sin, but don’t understand why it is being singled out, and many other scriptures ignored.


      • Josiah Rowe says:

        But on what basis can we claim that gay marriage is more offensive to God than remarriage after divorce, which Jesus explicitly condemned? When a divorced person wants to be married in the Church, we are full of grace and understanding. Why can we not apply that grace and understanding to our gay, lesbian and bisexual brothers and sisters?


      • Bob coates says:

        Thanks Josiah – my point exactly. It seems folks are cherry picking to support a point is view. But the over-arching message of the bible is love, inclusion, and non-judgment.


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