Why We Vigil in Support of Presbyterian Minister Rev. Stephen Van Kuiken and Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, April 8-9, 2003 in Cincinnati, Ohio

We, the supporters of Soulforce, vigil in support of Rev. Stephen Van Kuiken because he is being brought to trial by the Presbyterian Church (USA) for defying unjust laws in the Presbyterian Church (USA). These unjust and misguided laws and policies require ministers to discriminate against people in their congregation solely based on their sexual orientation.

Rev. Van Kuiken, in defiance of these laws, has preformed marriage ceremonies for same gender couples, and ordained elders who are gay or lesbian. We affirm and support Rev. Van Kuiken’s pro-gay, pro-equality stand, and the stand of Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, which states, "gays and lesbians are part of God’s good creation and that they, no less than heterosexuals, are meant to enjoy God’s gifts of love, joy and intimacy."

The first official charge against Van Kuiken is that he "has participated in the ordination and installation of deacons and elders who refuse to repent of self-acknowledged practice(s) which the Confessions call sin, in willful and deliberate violation of section G-60106(b) of the Book of Order of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)."

The second charge says Van Kuiken "performed and/or condoned and facilitated the performance by others of same-sex marriage ceremonies at the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church which were in violation of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) W-4.9001."

The Investigating Committee offered him an "alternative resolution" if he agreed to admit that what he did was wrong and promise not to do it again (marry and ordain). He not only refused to promise that he would not do it again, he stated that he believes that his actions are the right thing to do and will continue to do so.

G-60106b, a paragraph in the Form of Government section of the Book of Order, states: "Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage of a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the Confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders or ministers of the Word and Sacrament."

W-4.9001 states: "Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man. For Christians marriage is a covenant through which a man and a woman are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship. In a service of Christian marriage a lifelong commitment is made by a woman and a man to each other, publicly witnessed and acknowledged by the community of faith."

We vigil because we know that we are all

Soulforce is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Soulforce employs the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.