News from 2001

5 December 2001 -- Newsletter number 7 is published.

4 December 2001 -- The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission decides the appeal of the case against First Presbyterian Church of  Stamford is moot. See "Stamford Case"

28 October 2001 -- The Reverend Janie Spahr was the guest preacher at the Sunday worship at First Pres in Hartford.

16 October 2001 -- Welcome First Presbyterian Hartford! At its meeting tonight the Session of First Presbyterian Church in Hartford CT voted to become the third church member of Presbyterian Promise. Their action, and a note from pastor Terry Davis reads:

It was moved and passed that the Session of First Presbyterian Church become a full-supporting Session of the work of Presbyterian Promise of Southern New England.  In adopting this motion we will do the following: 
  • grant permission to Presbyterian Promise to use the name, "Session of First Presbyterian Church of Hartford,: as a full-supporting Session; 
  • commit a yearly donation from the Parish Outreach budget to Presbyterian Promise; and encourage members of the congregation to give individually. 
  • continue to welcome members and friends of Presbyterian Promise to worship and the work of FPC 
  • engage in study and scripture-based discussion about alternative life-styles during the church calendar year 
  • send a representative to the Board of Presbyterian Promise, when possible. 
The one bullet that you might have expected to see as supportive of our action would have been to include regularly in our bulletin and other literature a statement of inclusiveness.  The reason that it does not appear on this list is that this has been our policy and practice for over three years. 

The recommendation came from the Parish Outreach Committee, and was passed unanimously. 

25 June 2001 -- Presbyterian Promise publishes its GA Special Edition with the texts of three major actions and reflections about the Assembly.

12 June 2001 -- The Committee on Ordination Standards votes to recommend to General Assembly approval of the New York City overture 01-08 calling for removal of all impediments to ordination of gay/lesbian/bisexual/ transgender people. See more on this story at and

9 June 2001 -- The Welcoming Worship in New Haven was blessed -- the day was perfect and everyone came through.  This was truly "owned" and prayed for by a lot of different people. Our unofficial attendance was 137. Though that isn't huge, we had no idea if anyone would come. Instead, the church seemed full, and full of spirit. Beverly Deloatch, of Center Church, leaned over to me and remarked that she'd never been in church where so many people came in smiling. The observation that these worships are happy events has often been made, in surprise, before. A minister at the Minneapolis MLP conference years ago said he'd never been in a conference with so much laughter; the folks at Lewis and Clark at the Portland conference said that even their kitchen staff were commenting on how happy people seemed to be. It's an important and completely unreported sign of the spirit in what we do. Anyway, back to Saturday: all the sponsoring churches came through with financial and people support -- MCC had lots of people there in their MCC T-shirts, so we know people from that congregation were there.  Nancy Walker agreed to serve as a greeter from First, and Erin was there, as were Bill and Maria. The music was stunning -- Wayne was wonderful. Of course many people had never heard him before; the church was absolutely still as he sang. It was wonderful. I felt very satisfied that those leading the service were diverse, gay and lesbian and straight, people of color, diverse in theology. Even the Unitarians took equal part. I think we avoided most major mistakes and can build on a happy and solid foundation. I'm am very thankful. Finally, our free will offering was almost $740 which will be divided between AIDS Project New Haven and Love Makes a Family.
Dick Hasbany

6 June 2001 -- Our fifth Newsletter is published!

28 March 2001 -- Presbyterian Promise has been busy! We’ve been working both to respond to the vision of a more loving and just church and to develop a more effective organization. Details follow, but here’s a quick review.
Our BIG news: We are now Presbyterian Promise, Incorporated!!!

  • On January 26, the State of Connecticut formally approved us as a corporation.
  • And we hired David Lewicki as coordinator! David began working with us March 1st. His responsibilities include meeting with supportive churches and helping us move toward hiring an evangelist.
  • We now have our own bank account and are in the process of seeking tax-exempt status.
  • But clearly none of this matters unless we reach a new and more effective level of ministry. This is a big leap of faith. We are counting on God’s leading – and your support. Both are essential!
Outreach and Evangelism: We have been in rewarding conversation with leaders at the Wilton and West-minster churches. Wayne and Letty met with concerned people at Wilton in February. In December, Pat and Ralph discussed possibilities with Westminster’s Social Justice committee.

Program: All are invited to live in God’s kingdom, and one opportunity to experience this is coming soon! Come celebrate inclusive love with us at our first ever benefit -- Wayne Osborne and Friends -- Saturday evening, April 28, at Wilton Presbyterian Church. Be there! And Pres Prom is also playing a supportive role in the ecumenical worship on June 9th in New Haven, on New Haven’s Gay Pride Day.

Education is one of our founding purposes.

  • In September, October and early November, members and friends of Presbyterian Promise joined together to encourage our presbytery to reflect on and respond to the several aspects of our polity which discriminate against some of God’s children. At its November meeting, the Presbytery of Southern New England voted both to ask General Assembly to begin the process of removing G-6.0106b (which impedes the installation of officers) and to reject the attempt to ban blessing people in a great variety of loving relationships (Proposed Amendment 00-O).
  • Also this fall, Letty Russell taught her Readings in g/l/b/t liberation theology course at Yale Div School and opened it to members of the wider community.
  • Our website is now officially linked from TAMFS, or visit us directly.
Changes: It was with real regret that the board recently accepted Wayne’s resignation as co-moderator. No job is ‘for life’ but still this is challenging. Wayne continues on the board and is available to meet with people and churches.

Legal matters: The precedent setting church trial concerning Stamford’s re-election of Wayne as elder is now before the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Committee, our highest church court.

We ask your prayers for all God’s people as we struggle to see more clearly. We are in exciting times!
Ralph Jones

News from 2000