“They were chosen by our office because of their willingness to participate and their diversity in geographic makeup, size and theological perspective,” says Theology and Worship Coordinator Charles Wiley. “By testing the marriage study for us, they will give us feedback, and help us improve it, to make it more helpful for the entire PC(USA).”
The 220th General Assembly (2012) moved that the whole church enter into a season of serious study and discernment concerning its definition of Christian marriage. During the two-year period until the 221st General Assembly (2014) in Detroit, the office of Theology and Worship is to prepare and distribute the necessary education materials to all presbyteries and congregations.
“This study guide for marriage is designed around the Statement of the Gift of Marriage found in the liturgy for Christian marriage in the Book of Common Worship,” says Wiley. “The study will not prescriptively state denominational views. It will consist of a series of questions and resources designed to be used by the whole church.”
The Study on Marriage will point to both Scripture and the confessions to help participants shape their view of marriage, based on what the church has said about marriage and whether to say something new about marriage, specifically concerning same-gender couples.
The Study on Marriage guide is designed for use over six weeks by adults in a congregational context or by presbyteries in a single two-hour session. “Our hope is to equip the church to do the study by grounding it in what the church has said about marriage,” says Wiley.
The thirteen churches will begin their pretest of the study in January after which the Office of Theology and Worship will use their feedback to improve the study before making it available to all presbyteries and congregations, in late spring 2013.
Editor’s note: The following are the thirteen PC(USA) churches invited to participate in the study (the first two in Lake Waccamaw and Whiteville, NC are doing the study together):
Lake Waccamaw Presbyterian Church, North Carolina
First Presbyterian Church Whiteville, North Carolina
Laguna Presbyterian Church, Laguna Beach, CA
Sammamish Presbyterian Church, Washington
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Oklahoma City
Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Huntersville, NC
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago
Riviera Presbyterian Church, Miami
Covenant Presbyterian Church, Napa, CA
Noble Road Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Heights, OH
Roseville United Presbyterian Church, Newark, NJ
New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York