I’m Tim Hart-Andersen, Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.
As a pastor in a marriage equality state, our present interpretation of the Book of Order prevents my treating all members alike.
Don and Kent. An elder and a deacon. Together for over a decade.
Rick and Terry. Choir member and usher. In worship every Sunday. Together for thirty years.
Sara and Carrie. Young adults, new members with a daughter just baptized. Together for five years.
I serve a growing 3,000 member church in downtown Minneapolis. These are my people, and there are many, many more. They worship. They teach Sunday School. They give generously. They visit the sick and pray with the grieving.
And they love one another.
Nothing in scripture or in our reformed understanding of the wide-open grace of God stands in the way of their lifelong commitment being recognized by the church as marriage, except the way the church interprets the Book of Order.
When I do weddings I always talk about the Presbyterian emphasis on the covenantal nature of marriage. I talk about the gift of love enjoyed by the two being wed, and the Giver of that gift.
It breaks my heart as their pastor that our church will not allow me to use that language, rooted in our tradition, in a service of worship uniting parishioners in marriage. It’s time for us to catch up to the gift God has given them, to name it, and to bless it.