God’s love is unconditional: LGBTQ at ELPC
Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. (Romans 2:1, NRSV)
At ELPC, we seek to be a fully inclusive church, trusting in a gospel that does not discriminate based on sexual orientation. Through education, testimonies, and advocacy, we strive to live out a faith that respects the God-given gifts of our human sexuality, and fights to prevent social bias and any discrimination aimed at gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender persons. The love of Christ is for all of creation; and even with our diverse personalities, genetic make-ups, and relationship histories, God is consistent is offering us hope, grace, and salvation through the power of the Holy Spirit.
On October 9, 2011, the Lambda Foundation of Pittsburgh awarded a plaque of recognition to East Liberty Presbyterian Church. Lambda recognized ELPC for its “continued inclusivity of sexual minorities and for the leadership of its current pastor, The Rev. Randall K. Bush.” Lambda recognized the historical progress within ELPC, with the movement to advocate for LGBTQ persons beginning two decades ago with The Rev. J. Richard Szeremany and The Rev. Robert Chesnut, both now retired, and continuing today with the efforts of Rev. Bush. In particular, Lambda cited Rev. Bush’s efforts to advocate for LGBTQ equality at the Presbytery level. Two of our members serve as officers with Lambda.
In July 2011, amendment 10-A went info effect! We have been closely following the progress of this amendment within our national church’s governing body, Presbyterian Church (USA). The measure was passed by the national PC(USA) General Assembly, and was ratified by 88 presbyteries at last count--a majority! Read more on our ELPC in the News page. For more details on 10-A and other matters relating to being a fully inclusive Presbyterian church, visit Covenant Network’s website.
ELPC participates in Pittsburgh’s PrideFest each year, a week-long celebration of diversity and inclusion. KDKA, our local CBS affiliate (Read or view the news segment) covered the 2011 parade, including two brief quotes from one of our members. View a slideshow of photos from the 2010 parade.
The Christian church has long struggled with discussing the topic of human sexuality with openness and integrity. Part of this is our general discomfort with such a personal subject matter. The other part is that there are a modest number of passages in the bible that express negative views about same-gender sexual orientation. These passages, in their original Hebrew and Greek languages, predominantly speak about examples of violent homosexual rape and prostitution. However, some modern readers have taken these verses out of context and used them to offer general statements that would suggest that gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered people are not welcome in church communities.
We are saved by grace, not by the law. As Paul affirmed in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek; we are to live in our diverse cultures with a common spirit of faith.
Here’s an excerpt of the Rev. Bush leading the congregation in prayer: