All I can say is WOW! We have our work cut out for us in the next year, to
get this passed in the presbyteries. As Jimmy Creech said this week in
Louisville, he thinks the Presbyterian Church has the best chance of
leading the pack on this one.
Regards.......Dick Myers, Milwaukee
From: PCUSA NEWS [SMTP:PCUSA.NEWS@...
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2001 5:39 PM
Subject: [PCUSAnews] Assembly sends out an amendment to delete G-6.0106b
Note #6711 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:
Assembly sends out an amendment to delete G-6.0106b
Assembly sends out an amendment to delete G-6.0106b
Proposal to open the way for gay ordination passes with 60 % approval
by Jerry Van Marter
LOUISVILLE, June 15 – By a vote of 317-208, the 213th General
Assembly today voted to send measures to the 173 presbyteries of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that would clear the way for the ordination of
sexually active gay and lesbian Presbyterians and sexually active unmarried
heterosexual Presbyterians to church office.
If the sweeping measure – proposed to the Assembly by its Assembly
Committee on Ordination Standards – is ratified by a majority of the
presbyteries, G-6.0106b will be deleted from the church’s Book of
Order. That provision, enacted into church law in 1997 after it was
approved by the 1996 Assembly, requires of church officers " fidelity
within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in
An attempt to delete the measure the year after the presbyteries ratified
it by a vote of 97-74 was rejected by the presbyteries by a vote of 114-57.
The Assembly also asked the presbyteries to add a sentence to G-6.0106a
stating that church officers’ "suitability to hold office is
determined by the governing body where the examination for ordination or
installation takes place, guided by scriptural and constitutional
standards, under the authority and Lordship of Jesus Christ."
The Assembly also voted to render a 23-year-old "authoritative
interpretation" of the constitution – adopted in 1978 and reaffirmed
in 1993 – of "no further force or effect." The church's Advisory
Committee on the Constitution had stated that both the church law and the
authoritative interpretation must be repealed in order to open the way for
ordination of openly gay and lesbian Presbyterians.
The Assembly action did just that – if enough presbyteries reverse
the position they took three years ago. The repeal of the authoritative
interpretation will not go into effect unless the amendment to delete
G-6.0106b is ratified.
The Presbyterian Coalition – a group of anti-gay ordination
organizations formed in 1993 – in a statement called the Assembly's
action "deeply distressing," adding "it is unthinkable that a majority of
Presbyterians favor the removal of our ordination standards.
The Assembly completed action on the highly-controversial and
much-anticipated proposal in just over two hours. It rejected a minority
report signed by 14 members of the 60-member Ordination Standards Committee
that would have disapproved the measure and instead sent a pastoral letter
to the church stating its belief that "prayer and study provide a more
excellent way than endless debates over legislation."
The Assembly also defeated a motion to refer the matter of ordination
standards to a task force it created earlier in the week to explore
theological issues – including ordination standards – that have
deeply divided the 2.5-million member denomination in recent years.
It instructed Assembly moderator Jack Rogers to send a letter to the 173
presbyteries and all 11,178 congregations "interpreting" its decision to
send out the proposed amendments and to vacate the authoritative
Elder Georgia Hooper-Peek of Hudson River Presbytery in New York, which has
been embroiled in several litigations in the church courts over G-6.0106b
pleaded for passage of the measure, saying it had cost her presbytery more
than $50,000 in legal costs "and untold costs in our hearts."
Elder Ted Mikels of Salem Presbytery in North Carolina, speaking in
opposition, said, "Twice in the last five years we've voted on this and
each time it tears the fabric of our presbytery. To send this out again
will create greater rancor and polarization. We need prayer and study and
dialogue, not more legislation."
The Rev. M. Paul Nelson of San Diego Presbytery agreed, calling the
proposal "an emotional bomb that will do great damage when it is dropped on
But former General Assembly moderator John Buchanan, a minister member of
Chicago Presbytery and co-founder of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians,
the largest pro-gay ordination group in the PC(USA), said G-6.0106b has
created "an absence of peace in the church since 1996," producing
"wrenching confrontations" each year for the General Assembly. "The
approval (of the proposal) creates space to live and work together," he
Opponents of the measure appealed to what they called the clear teaching of
the Bible. The Rev. Robert Thornton of Abingdon Presbytery in Virginia said
"G-6.0106b represents standards of scripture, our confessions and our
tradition" that must be preserved. "Someone will be hurt either way we
vote," he added, "but I’d rather err on the side of the word of God."
Elder Kristin Hock of Alaska Presbytery agreed. "We can only come together
when we have the mind of Christ. We need fervent prayer and Bible study
But proponents countered that Presbyterians cannot possibly come together
if some are excluded. "How can we talk openly and honestly while preserving
legislation that prevents openness and honesty," said Elder Kathryn Morgan
of West Jersey Presbytery, "and where some are kept away from the table?"
The presbyteries have until the next General Assembly convenes – June
15, 2002, in Columbus, Ohio, to cast their votes on the proposed amendments
deleting G-6.0106b and adding the sentence to G-6.0106a.
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