(March 23, 2002) – Soulforce, Inc. commends and affirms the action taken by the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church (USA), Cincinnati, Ohio, and applauds the courage of conviction by the Session (governing body) of the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church as evidenced by the Statement of Dissent and Non-Compliance, passed on February 27, 2002. The Session reaffirmed for the tenth year that "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 Session also issued a Statement on Inclusive Marriage last year on February 28, 2001.
The stand taken by Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church is truly in the spirit of faithful dissent, especially in light of the defeat of Amendment A on February 19, 2002. Charges have been filed against the pastors, Rev. Harold G. Porter and the Rev. Stephen Van Kuiken for allegedly defying the constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and we stand in solidarity with them.
(Amendment A was a measure to delete a section of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order that states that "those called to office in the church" are required to "live in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness," or can not be ordained as elders, deacons, or ministers. That section will remain in the denomination’s Book of Order.)
The spirit of justice and hope that the actions of the Session of Mt. Auburn Presbyterian display creates a ripple effect that will be felt beyond the walls of the church. The spiritual violence that is committed by the PC (USA) when it denies the sanctity of the call of gays and lesbians and the holiness of relationships is being loudly challenged by Mt. Auburn. Gays and lesbians will be healed and affirmed by this courageous and just act.
The full inclusion of gays and lesbians in church and society will not happen until more ministers like the Rev. Harold G. Porter and the Rev. Stephen Van Kuiken take a stand and become faithful dissenters and commit acts of ecclesial and civil disobedience (spiritual obedience).
Again, we applaud the courage and commitment of the Session, the Congregation, and the pastors of Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church. We must likewise, stand up and support their stands for justice.