1 Corinthians 12:12-13
As the Church-the body of Christ in the world-we are continually called to proclaim God's Word and do God's work in the world. In short, we are called to witness to, worship and work for the Word of God, Jesus Christ, as he is attested to by the divinely inspired Holy Scriptures.
What this means is very simple. The Church in every place and time is called to always follow the example of its head, Jesus Christ, by loving God with every ounce of our being and loving our neighbors as ourselves. This is both the call and claim of the Gospel upon our lives.
Living without sin, Jesus was nonetheless a friend to sinners. He ate with tax collectors, socialized with outcasts, touched the untouchables and even counseled rich young rulers. As sinful as it is, the church is called to do no less. We are to show forth God's love to all people.
In our relationship with God, our relationship with each other in the church and our relationship with the world outside of the church, we will seek always to live with love-hospitable, welcoming, open and inclusive love! Sin has separated us, but Christ calls us back together!
In all of our words and works, we will attempt to live by the rule of love. Where arguments and divisions arise, we will attempt always to err on the side of love. At home, at church, in our community, in the larger church, in our nation and in the world-this is how we will live.
We refuse to allow the overwhelming weight of the Word and the overwhelming message of the Gospel to be taken hostage by a few phrases spoken in context. We refuse to allow our Lord and Savior's call to love God and neighbor be reduced to mean this neighbor or that neighbor.
And we will always attempt to welcome all who God has so graciously placed in our midst. We will attempt to do this without regard to race, class, language, ethnicity, handicap, gender, age or sexual orientation. With God's help, the church will not let these distinctions divide us!
All of God's children are fully welcome in God's house. And we will not only seek but embody nothing less than the full inclusion and full participation of all God's people in God's Church. Where we stray, lead us back. And where we journey faithfully, strengthen us all the more!
The congregation shall welcome all persons who respond in trust and obedience to God's grace in Jesus Christ and desire to become part of the membership and ministry of his Church. No persons shall be denied membership because of race, ethnic origin, worldly condition, or any other reason not related to profession of faith. Each member must seek the grace of openness in extending the fellowship of Christ to all persons. (G-9.0104) Failure to do so constitutes a rejection of Christ himself and causes a scandal to the gospel.
Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order G-5.0103
On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, as a white man killed nine people worship in one of the oldest black churches in America. In response to this, Lakeview Presbyterian Church adopted the following Statement of Commitment:
The love of Christ leads us to do justice and mercy in the world. We condemn all acts of racial violence and hatred. We mourn the loss of lives in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, June 17, 2015. We extend to the members of family and friends our love, sympathy, and prayers. We commit ourselves to replace hate with love and violence with mercy. God bless us all. And all of God's people say, "Amen!"