GSML Archived Information

What does it look like to be a faithful presence on this corner around issues related to gender, sexuality, marriage, and leadership in the church? Beginning in 2014, our congregation explored this question together, seeking to discover the deeper truth of God’s grace as it expands our heart for others, as well as the deeper grace of God’s truth calling us to follow his will and ways.

  • 2014-2015 – Public Gatherings to discuss GSML
  • 2016 – First Letters from Session
  • 2018 – Session Provides Additional Clarifications
  • 2019 – Interpreting Scripture in Community

Our Discernment and Process

We held a series of public gatherings from October 2014 through June 2015 as we sought to faithfully engage our congregation in the larger conversation about gender, sexuality, marriage, and leadership. Learn more about our three-phase process: I. Learn; II. Discern and Articulate; and III. Affirm.

“On Gender, Sexuality, Marriage, and Leadership: A Letter from the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley”

Following the public process, Elders on Session worked to discern and articulate the church’s position. Session presented this letter at the Annual Congregational Meeting on March 6, 2016 to address the Session’s unity and vision for life together at First Pres under the Lordship of Jesus Christ concerning these matters.

Session’s follow-up included meetings with many ministry groups and four Town Hall Meetings to hear feedback, concerns, and questions, and offer further insight.

“Further Context for Session’s Letter on Gender, Sexuality, Marriage and Leadership”

Session added this supplemental letter for further clarification in April 2016, and continued to be available to the congregation on Sundays in April and May. Pastors and Session committed to working on other ways to continue to address biblical and theological approaches to GSML issues, including future classes and activities that reinforce our commitment to the authority of scripture and our church’s approach to interpreting scripture in community.

2018 Clarifications

In the summer of 2018, the Session considered further clarifications to “On Gender, Sexuality, Marriage, and Leadership: A Letter from the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley” issued in 2016. In the August 21, 2018 Session meeting, the Session approved additional clarifications (see bottom of page).

Interpreting Scripture in Community: Considering Biblical Texts Concerning Homosexuality

In response to many in our community, Session sponsored a study of Old and New Testament texts used in discussions of homosexuality. Following in the tradition established with our initial Interpreting Scripture in Community experience in 2012, we came together again to revisit and apply practices that guide us to read the Bible well.


We developed a list of resources that can help clarify different perspectives and the underlying rationales behind them. We encourage you to read at least one resource that aligns with your current perspective, and one that might challenge some of your assumptions and views.

Learn More

2010 Mission Study–A Longer History
Our church history from the Mission Study Appendix

On this Corner (2009 revision)
A Challenge and a Promise: Geneva and McKinley Halls

2003 Living from the Center
For our 125th year anniversary (1878–2003)

1973 Brochure
About the demolition of our third sanctuary