THIS SUNDAY AT FPCNC!

 10:00 AM Worship

Amos 7:7-15 / Mark 6:14-29

"Live Like You're Dying"

Rev. Christopher G. Tate preaching

 Special Music by Leslie Leeman Uhl

 

 Summer Activities Program for K and up

 

11 AM Continental Breakfast

 and Fellowship

 

 

PC(USA) advocates celebrate Supreme Court decision on same-gender marriage

Church leaders say education is the next step

June 26, 2015

Presbyterian News Service

Rick Jones

LOUISVILLE

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that same-gender couples have a constitutional right to marry nationwide, striking down bans in 14 states. Church leaders believe today’s ruling is a step in the right direction as society’s views have continued to change in recent years.

In its 5-4 opinion, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote “the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of a person and under the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, couples of the same sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty.”

“The PC(USA) has advocated for almost four decades for civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is in keeping with that work,” said Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons.

The 221st General Assembly of the PC(USA) approved a recommendation last year allowing for pastoral discretion in performing same-gender marriage, where legal by law. In its decision, the G.A. said, “Exercising such discretion and freedom of conscience under the prayerful guidance of Scripture, teaching elders may conduct a marriage service for any such couple in the place where the community gathers for worship so long as it is approved by the session; or in such other place as may be suitable for a service of Christian workshop.”

The amendment to the PC(USA) Book of Order was ratified March 17, 2015 when Palisades Presbytery became the 86th of 171 presbyteries to approve the change to the description of marriage as “a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.”

“It is always good when the church is at the front end of a movement such as this and catches the spirit in the wind of where people are attempting to move society and give voice to those who have long been silenced,” said the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness. “Our task now is to educate congregations and address how the church is to engage society and our differences. It’s much more than a gay/lesbian issue. We are seeing laws overturned in favor of communities that have not always been represented.”

The Office of the General Assembly today released a document on the church’s position on same-gender marriages. “Under the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Order, W-4.900, nothing in our Constitution shall compel a teaching elder to perform a marriage service that the teaching elder believes is contrary to the teaching elder’s discernment of the Holy Spirit and understanding of the Word of God.”

The PC(USA) Constitution says a Session has the authority to permit or deny the use of church property for a marriage service. There is nothing in the constitution that would compel a Session to authorize the use of church property for a marriage service that the Session believes is contrary to its standing.

The case does not take into consideration the tax-exempt status of congregations not willing to perform same gender marriages. However, the ruling is expected to have a major impact on religious schools that have refused housing to same-sex couples. Legal experts say the institutions could face lawsuits or lose tax-exempt status.




 


Our hearts and prayers go out to "Mother Emanuel" AME Church
and to the communities of Charleston, South Carolina.

"...refuse to accept the view that human kind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.  Rather, we believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word, in reality.  This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reaches out to its sisters and brothers of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, South Carolina, where nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire Wednesday night during Bible study. We grieve with the families of the victims and members of their church community. We hope the perpetrator is soon captured and brought to justice.

The chief of police in Charleston has named this a hate crime. We know of no other name for a crime that forces a five-year-old child to play dead in her church in order to live. Arresting the shooter is the job of law enforcement. Arresting hate is the work we are all called to do as disciples of Jesus Christ. May God never give up on us as we face our own racism and its tragic impact on congregations, their communities, and our very souls.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, God who has brought us thus far on our way, only you know why someone would enter into your house of worship and open fire on your children. Only you know why hate would run so deep that it would cause one of your creations to kill others you have formed. In our confusion over this senseless act, we appeal to you for understanding and courage to continue to fight for justice. We pray right now for the families of those who lost lives at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. on June 17, and ask that you would wrap your loving arms around them and the entire community. Likewise, we pray for an end to the continued racial unrest and violence that permeates the United States and the world, and ask you to guide us to work earnestly for change. Now unto you who is able to keep us from falling, we pray all these things.

Amen

Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Linda Valentine
Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Heath K. Rada
Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Larissa Kwong Abazia
Vice Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 

 

First Presbyterian Nursery School

 

Don’t forget that children of church members have priority access to places in the FPNS. At the moment there are three openings in the pre-school (two in the 3's program and one in the PreK class). For information or to arrange a tour of the school, call the school office at 203-966-5234



 

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN WEBSITE CALENDAR


 

Safe Church Policies for Children & Youth
Most every Sunday morning you hear me stand in front of the congregation and tell you that “this is a safe and sacred place…”  We wanted to inform and reassure you that we have put into place safe church policies that are guided by the policies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and reflect current practices nationwide for activities involving minors.  Here are the steps that we have taken to seek to insure the safety of our children and youth. 

·        All children are supervised by at least two adults at all times - in Sunday school, children’s and youth activities,  choir rehearsals, youth group meetings, confirmation classes, and youth overnight retreats, mission trips, and pilgrimages.

·        Infants and toddlers are cared for on Sunday mornings during worship by two or more professional adult babysitters who have undergone thorough background checks.

·        Youth participating in overnight retreats or events are supervised by at least one adult of each gender.

·        All adult chaperones of overnight trips will undergo a standard background check.

·        It is our practice to maintain a smaller youth-to-chaperone ratio than is required by the hosting organization during our pilgrimages and mission trips.

·        Ordained pastors, elders, deacons, and Stephen Ministers are considered mandated reporters by the Presbyterian Church (USA), as well as the state, and are charged with reporting any concerns immediately.

These measures contribute to the safe and sacred place that is First Presbyterian Church.  We appreciate your understanding and support of our safe church policies.  Together we will provide for the well-being of our children and youth, truly make this a sanctuary where all God’s children will not only be safe but will flourish. 

Grace & Peace,

Paul & Kibbie

 







 
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