The Reverend Bruce Reyes-Chow, Moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has selected members for the General Assembly Special Committee to Study Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage.

Last summer’s General Assembly directed the Moderator to “appoint a special committee, representing the broad diversity and theological balance of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), to study the following … including any policy recommendations growing out of the study:

  • The history of the laws governing marriage and civil union, including current policy debates.

  • How the theology and practice of marriage have developed in the Reformed and broader Christian tradition.

  • The relationship between civil union and Christian marriage.

  • The effects of current laws on same-gender partners and their children.

  • The place of covenanted same-gender partnerships in the Christian community.”

The special committee is to make its report to the 219th General Assembly (2010) next summer in Minneapolis.

Of the 13 on the special committee, three are under 36 years of age, three are 36-45, six are 46-55, and one is over 55.

Reyes-Chow used a video clip posted on his blog Tuesday evening in advance of today’s release to comment about the selection process to fill this and additional special committees that will be announced later this week.

In the clip, he explained that he had extended an “open invitation to submit names — promising to select people that I believed could bring passion, thought, intellect, experience, foresight, and vision” to the task.

Reyes-Chow said, “Those who have been chosen have a deep commitment to the church, a deep love for Christ, and are seeking and yearning for a way to be church in new and discerning ways.”

He continued, “We owe our deepest gratitude to those who have accepted this calling — the privilege and responsibility of serving on task forces and study groups at the General Assembly level of our denomination.”

Named to the special committee are the Reverends Clayton F. Allard (Grace Presbytery), Emily J. Anderson (East Tennessee Presbytery), Margaret Aymer Oget (Greater Atlanta Presbytery), Steve Hancock (Arkansas Presbytery), Tracie Mayes Stewart (Salem Presbytery), James Szeyller (Charlotte Presbytery), and William Teng (National Capital Presbytery) and elders Luis Antonio De La Rosa (Pacific Presbytery), Katina Miner (San Francisco Presbytery), Stephen L. Salyards (San Gabriel Presbytery), and Lisa Cooper Van Riper (Foothills Presbytery). Emily W. Miller (Shenandoah Presbytery) and Derrick Weston (Pittsburgh Presbytery) will also serve as members.

Szeyller will serve as chairperson of the group.

Staffing the committee will be the Reverend David Gambrell, associate for worship, Theology Worship and Education (General Assembly Council), and the Reverend Vernon Broyles, volunteer in mission, Office of the General Assembly.