Presbyteries act on Amendment 10-A
for inclusive ordination
for resources for study and discussion >>
Click here for reports on presbytery actions >>
Click here for earlier
posts on inclusive ordination >>
Inclusive ordination – from policy to reality, in the PC(USA)
news comes from Michael Adee,
Executive Director & Field Organizer of
More Light Presbyterians
will be ordained on October 8 at Covenant Presbyterian Church,
believe that Scott's ordination will be the first ordination of
an out gay candidate in the PCUSA since the passage of
Ordination Amendment 10-A on May 10 and its going into effect as
G-2.0104 on July 10.
We hope many of
you will consider going to Madison for Scott's ordination on
Saturday, October 8, particularly those of you within an easy
driving distance. Road trip!
To send a note to
Scott has served
as Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians. He has advocated
for the full participation of LGBT persons in the life, ministry
and witness of our Church for a long time. We so appreciate his
call and faithful journey to have his ordination reinstated by
John Knox Presbytery. Scott serves as the Executive Director of
the Wisconsin Council of Churches. He served as Executive
Director of the California Council of Churches before moving to
Wisconsin. Scott's call, gifts and qualifications for ordained
ministry and service in our Church are clear to anyone who meets
him. He has been serving God and the Church in ministry for many
years now, of course.
Please join More
Light Presbyterians in holding Scott and his family; all LGBT
candidates, inquirers and seminary students; and our Church in
your hearts, thoughts and prayers on October 8.
I give thanks to
God for all the ways each of you has worked so faithfully for
these historic moments in the life of the Presbyterian Church
(USA) and the Christian Communion.
with hope and
SFTS affirms the newly welcoming stance of PCUSA – and offers
strong welcome to LGBT students
Colleen Bowers, a
member of the Coordinating Team of PVJ, recently received a note
from two members of the staff of San Francisco Theological Seminary,
which we are happy to share with you all. They write:
SAN FRANCISCO THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
August 18, 2011
“I am about to do a new thing. Now it springs
forth; do you not perceive it?” – Isaiah
We write to you with excitement about the new
thing God is doing in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The passing
of 10-A is a milestone of the Spirit’s movement in our church, and
as two members of the LGBT community serving this denomination, we
are deeply grateful for your years of hard work, determination, and
faithfulness to God’s vision of an inclusive church. We stand upon
this threshold with humility and gratitude, as well as with
anticipation of a new and unfolding future.
We believe that all of us must participate in
living into the “new thing” God is doing by helping current and
future LGBT Inquirers and Candidates have healthy, meaningful
seminary experiences, advocating for their recognition and support
in their home Presbyteries, and assisting them in networking to find
their first calls in ministry. We are committed to sharing in this
work with you. As Interim Associate Dean of Student Life/Chaplain
and Director of Enrollment at San Francisco Theological Seminary,
our respective ministries are to support students through their
educational experience and their discernment process. We hope to be
a resource for any individual who is considering seminary and a call
to professional ministry, especially our fellow LGBT kin, regardless
of what seminaries they are considering attending.
Because we serve in an institution of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we also want you to know that SPTS is
a safe and welcoming place for its LGBT community. The
Inclusive Community Statement developed by our students last
year speaks to this. The statement ...
was unanimously approved by our faculty and student government, and
strongly supported by our staff and administration. As SFTS staff
and recent alumni, we are proud to be a part of the seminary at this
time and we are optimistic about the future of both SFrS and the
Please feel free to
contact either of us if we can be of help to you or to any current
or future seminarians you know.
Peace be with you.
Scott Clark, M,Div.,
Class of 2009
Interim Associate Dean of Student Life/ Chaplain
Elizabeth B. P.
McCord, M.Div., Class of 2006
Director of Enrollment
Click here for a news release about the Seminary’s adoption
of the Inclusive Community Statement
GA PJC clears Scott Anderson to be first approved, openly gay
minister in the PC(USA), while Lisa Larges’ case is returned to
synod for more deliberation [8-2-11]
Leslie Scanlon, writing for Presbyterian Outlook,
LOUISVILLE – 2 August 2011 – The
General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission has dismissed a
challenge to the ordination of Scott Anderson, which means that
Anderson – a gay man who set aside his ordination in 1990 after
congregants publicly revealed his sexual orientation – may once
again be ordained by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
But the commission remanded back to the Synod of
the Pacific Permanent Judicial Commission a case involving Lisa
Larges, a lesbian who has sought ordination in the PC(USA) for
roughly a quarter-century. The commission ruled that the synod
commission erred in not addressing concerns raised in the appeal of
her case – basically, an argument that some standards of sexual
morality are based in the Bible and the confessions, and can’t be
set aside even if the denomination’s ordination standards change.
The full report >>
GA PJC expected to rule tomorrow on two “gay ordination” cases
Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission met on July 29 in Louisville,
hearing two cases dealing with the question – raised before the
approval of ordination for LGBT Presbyterians – of whether two
particular lesbian and gay candidates – Lisa Larges and Scott
Anderson – can be ordained in the PC(USA). One obvious action would
be to declare the cases moot, since the amendment to delete the ban
on ordination of people involved in same-sex relationships went into
effect on July 10, 2011.
Leslie Scanlon, of The Presbyterian Outlook
a good background report, and we’ll bring you news of the PJC
decision as soon as it is made public, probably tomorrow.
One presbytery acts to keep old ban on LGBT ordination
Presbytery (in north central Pennsylvania) took two actions on July
16, 2011 in response to Ordination Amendment 10-A, which has now
become G-2.0104 in the Book of Order. First they reinstated the old
G-6.0106b (the “fidelity and chastity” requirement) as the policy of
the presbytery, and then the majority also passed a motion allowing
individual churches to withhold per capita from GA as protest
against 10-A passing. The Presbytery will not be permitted to send
the missing per capita payments to GA.
The wording of the presbytery action on
"Whereas each Presbytery is now called to
establish its own standards for ordination, we move that
Northumberland Presbytery adopt as ordination and/or
installation policy the 2011 Book of Order section G60106.b as a
requirement for ordination and installation within this
b. Those who are called to office in the
church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in
conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church.
Among these standards is the requirement to live either in
fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a
woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to
repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions
call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as ministers of
the Word and Sacrament."
This indicates that the struggle for justice and
inclusion in the PC(USA) will continue, as fears of change and “the
other” and “impurity” continue among many Presbyterians.
If you’re aware of similar reactions in other
presbyteries, or even better, if you have suggestions for helping
our church and our people deal with such reactions,
send a note, and we’ll share it here!
A reader comments – supporting
Northumberland Presbytery's action against LGBT
appreciate what the Northumberland Presbytery did. I am
not fearful of change nor am I homophobic. The issue for
me is not a justice one but one of interpreting
Scripture to mean what it has always meant when it comes
to sexuality. Sex is reserved between a man and a woman
in the context of marriage. It doesn't matter what
transpired with Amendment 10-A. Those who voted in favor
of this Amendment have not studied the Scripture nor do
they understand the pro-gay movement and how it has
helped blind the eyes and hearts of many within the
Jeff is a minister member of Southern
New England Presbytery, currently serving a
non-denominational church on Martha’s Vineyard,
A day for celebration and hope ...
As most of you
surely are aware, this is the day on which the 2010 General
Assembly’s action to affirm the legitimacy of ordination of LGBT
Presbyterians goes into effect.
Book of Order,
with the revised Form of Government and no more
G-6.0106b, goes into effect today – one year from the adjournment of
the 219th General Assembly, which sent those and several other
amendments to the presbyteries. It includes G-2.0104b, which makes
clear that ordination is a fully legitimate possibility for LGBT
Here’s the full text
of the new policy:
Those who are called to
ordained service in the church, by their assent to the
constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003)
pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of
the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of
the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the
instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their
fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged
with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and
G-14.0450) establishes the candidate's sincere efforts to adhere to
According to one
tally of the votes so far, 97 presbyteries voted for approval of
Amendment 10-A, while 72 voted against it. Twenty-three presbyteries
shifted from opposed a similar change 2 year ago to supporting it
now, while four presbyteries shifted the other way.
This is surely a day
for thanksgiving – to the God of grace and truth who has led us to
this point, to the countless women and men who have borne witness
faithfully and courageously, and to the many, many others in our
church who have come to the point of supporting this change.
So to the individuals
and groups who have helped our church see the (more) light, PVJ says
Thanks! And thanks be to God whose embrace includes us all!
And this is also a
day for hope – that love may prevail over fear among the many who
are deeply concerned about this change, and that all of us may act
with determination and wisdom to make the slogan “welcoming church”
a reality through our denomination, around the country, and in the
A call for church-wide celebrations & stories for July 10
Michael Adee, National Organizer
of More Light Presbyterians, has sent out this interesting
suggestion for marking the date when Amendment 10-A goes into
effect, for the full inclusion of LGBT Presbyterians in the
leadership of the PC(USA):
Grace and peace. Amendment 10-A goes into
effect on July 10 because of its ratification on May 10 in
Minneapolis. We give thanks to God that the Presbyterian Church
(USA) enters a new era of equality on July 10. ...
Today, all of us have another opportunity to
be part of transformation in our Church and world by creating
celebrations and using the tools of media that help us tell the
story to everyone. When we tell our stories through media,
people around the world who are moving toward full equality find
support. Our stories give them hope! Let’s tell our stories
about the moral and spiritual equality of LGBT people.
The end of the vote and the implementation of
the new policy on July 10 is a vital moment and we need your
help to get this good news out there. Here is what you can do.
Create a Celebration on Sunday, July 10. The
Presbyterian Church (USA) passed Amendment 10-A which removes
barriers to ordination for LGBT people. Mark this historic
moment in the life of the Church and your local congregation by
opening your service with a celebration. This can be a
procession or a "minute for mission" where congregants share the
importance of this Presbyterian action and what it means to you.
Work with us to generate interest among journalists so the
stories get out to the whole world. Consider a procession of
rainbow banners, scarves or balloons at the start of the worship
service so the reporter can get a photo and not disturb the rest
of the service. Interviews can be held at another time. We will
provide you with a template for a media alert that you can send
to the religion reporter from your local newspaper. Just
register your celebration below and we will be in touch!
He offers other good ideas, too. For more
information, contact Michael at
One more presbytery steps toward justice, approving Amendment
Providence Presbytery celebrated Pentecost (on
Sunday, June 12, 2011) by approving Amendment 10-A, 48-44-1, thus
becoming the first presbytery in South Carolina to make the great
step forward. They are the 23rd presbytery to take that
step toward justice in the voting this year.
As expected, Hanmi Presbytery voted against 10-A,
The tally is now 97-75.
Kiskiminetas is the last presbytery to vote on
Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig,
National Organizer,and John
Shuck, blogger of
Shuck and Jive.
10-A and the future of the PC(USA)
David True, an associate professor of religion at
Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., has published a thoughtful
commentary on the various responses among Presbyterians to the
ratification of Amendment 10-A. He begins:
Reactions to the passage of Amendment 10-A have in
large part reflected the division of the vote. Many have cheered its
passage, while others have bemoaned it. What is interesting and
somewhat surprising is that the debate appears not to have boiled
over, at least not yet. To be sure, feelings are running high, but
so far both sides have acted with considerable restraint. Supporters
of 10-A have spoken graciously about their hopes that those on the
other side will stay, and opponents have not, at least not yet,
headed for the door en masse. What should we make of this? Is it a
hopeful sign of a new day or are Presbyterians simply acting
I want to suggest that competing visions of the
church forged in the debate over ordination are now informing the
prevailing restraint. In the next months these visions will be
tested and perhaps transformed, and in the process they may help
remake the PC(USA) and perhaps American Protestantism more broadly.
The competing ecclesiastical visions are 1) the church as a
community of hospitality and 2) the church as the antithesis to the
world. To see the power of these visions we need first return to
their interpretations of 10-A, then to the current restraint, and
finally to some future possibilities.
Read his full essay on the Presbyterian Outlook
|“Choose this day” – one clear example of choosing
to stand “against the world”
As one example of his second group, those who see
the church as called to stand against “the world,” the
Presbyterian Layman is urging conservatives to sign on to its “I
choose this day” letter, calling on their congregations to heed
Joshua’ call to the people of Israel to “Choose you this day whom
you will serve!” Thus they would “stand firm against a tide of
cultural accommodation that is swamping the Presbyterian Church
Click here for the Layman’s call to “choose
this day” >>
For the text of
the “choose this day” petition >>
A very interesting
list of “resources” on this project, including papers on how pastors
can leave the denomination without losing their pension benefits;
how congregations can leave and take their church property with
them; a letter to a session conveying the call to consider
“choosing”; a list of congregations that have left the denomination,
and much more.
Please share your thoughts --
on David True's analysis,
or on the Layman's latest campaign to purify the church.
send a note
and let's talk about this!
Another presbytery shifts to vote for inclusive ordination
Union Presbytery today voted 43 to 38 to approve Amendment 10-A --
the 22nd presbytery to FLIP from no to yes.
Also, Western New York continued its support of
equality and justice, approving amendment A by 77 to 44.
The current tally is 96-69.
Church of Scotland votes to allow gay ministers
Scotland's largest protestant church lifts temporary
ban imposed after appointment of gay minister in 2009
The Guardian reports:
Scotland's largest protestant church has voted to
allow gay men and lesbians to become ministers.
The Church of Scotland imposed a temporary ban
after the appointment of Scott Rennie, a gay minister, to a church
in Aberdeen in 2009.
The general assembly, the church's law-making
body, voted on Monday morning [May 23] to lift that moratorium,
officially allowing gay ministers to take on parishes for the first
time since it was founded in 1560-1 by John Knox, a leading figure
in the Scottish reformation.
The vote follows warnings that allowing gay and
lesbian clergy could split the church. A special commission set up
in 2009 to investigate the implications of Rennie's appointment
predicted that up to a fifth of the church's ministers, deacons and
elders, as well as 100,000 worshippers, could leave in protest.
The commission warned that the issue was extremely
divisive, with another 1,800 church leaders and 40,000 parishioners
saying they would leave if gay ministers were not admitted. The
church has 445,000 communicants, or active members.
Why approve 10-A?
More on the
ratification of Amendment 10-A by the Presbytery of the Twin Cities
Area – what people said in the floor discussion
We reported almost two weeks ago on the action of
the Twin Cities Area presbytery in approving Amendment 10–A to the
Book of Order of the PC(USA). The discussion before the vote had
been planned by the presbytery leaders to allow for the expression
of varying views, but in a format that would minimize back-and-forth
“debate” that might sharpen differences of opinion.
Each side, for and against approval of LGBT
ordination, was presented first by a member of the Bills and
Overtures committee, and each of them was followed by ten minutes
for statements by members of the presbytery. Presentations in favor
of approval were varied, but seemed to articulate many of the most
important reasons for support the change. A number of the speakers
have shared the written version of their remarks, which we’re happy
to share with you here. Just click on the name of any presenter that
looks like a link, and you’ll see that full statement.
on the discussion in Twin Cities Area presbytery >>
Two more presbyteries support 10-A
The Presbytery of
Sheppards and Lapsley, by a vote of 80 to 52), joined the other two
presbyteries in Alabama to support inclusive ordination.
And one more! Homestead Presbytery, in Nebraska,
voted 46-29 in favor of Amendment A.
Not everybody is joining in, though. Los Ranchos
voted today also, and again voted no, 51-131. so the tally is 94-69.
blogger John Shuck
|Added on 5-20-11 --
Tricia Dykers Koenig,
National Organizer, observes that Amendment 10-A has now
been approved by all the presbyteries in the states of
Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Also
all those in Illinois and Indiana (the entire Synod of
Lincoln Trails!). That’s not counting non-geographical
presbyteries, or states with only one presbytery.
Saturday, May 21, San Juan|
Tuesday, May 24, Missouri Union, Western New York|
Thursday, May 26, Hanmi, Peace River
More presbyteries support 10-A and inclusive ordination
On Saturday, May 14, the Presbytery of Boise voted
37-27 to approve the amendment for inclusive ordination. Boise was
the 20th presbytery to flip from a no to a YES.
And today, Tuesday May 17, the Presbytery of Des
Moines strengthened its past support Amendment 10-A, by a vote of 64
yes, 29 no, with 2 abstaining. Three other presbyteries also
continued their support of 10-A: Charlotte, Des Moines, and New
The current tally is 92-66.
Thanks to John Shuck and Bill Le
Standing in Pain
by Jenny Stone
It takes a willingness to share another’s pain. And I
am grateful that so many were willing to share the pain of gay
people to understand the importance of gay ordination. As you know,
many of us did not want to do it. “What! Talk about it one more
time?” We were so tired of the subject.
But it wasn’t just a subject, it was and is people.
Individual lives, and pains. All too often deaths, spiritual or
I have felt unable to regularly go to a Presbyterian
church since my ordination process. I felt so painfully disowned by
people of my home church. A disowning, they would say, they didn’t
do. All the more painful. They would say it didn’t happen. Their
relationship with me was and is just fine. They are an “open”
church. Open to everybody. There was just that bump in the road
during the ordination process. If they even knew about it at all.
Besides, they don’t want to dwell on the unpleasant things, and they
don’t want me to either. If I do then that’s probably my own fault.
The session members who were there, who did it,
didn’t think it was a big deal. After all, they were busy. My
liaison to the session said I was the one who was making a big deal
out of my being gay. It wasn’t an issue to them. Because if I was
called to serve God, it was such a profound call that it shouldn’t
be a big deal to forgo a primary relationship.
Seminary had been hard. The ordination process had
been hard. And now, in the next stage for the better part of a year
I tried to talk to them about it. To make time. To understand. This
is usually a pretty smooth ordination process. We only have 15
minutes. Don’t make a problem or it’s your fault.
I had audited a prophets course before the final
ordination steps where the professor said, contrary to our
impression, the prophets had not done it alone. They had support
systems. Whether right or wrong, his thought had prompted me to
consider how many people, what was the minimum from my church that I
needed for support. Who really “got it”? Were willing to walk with
me. Share my pain. I decided two. As I interacted with the session
members I realized there were not two. There was not even one.
It would have taken years for me to educate the
session, the church, my liaison. Uphill. Painful years. Being told I
was the problem. And they didn’t want to spend the time even now.
With no income. Or commuting 3½ hours from a possible job to go to
church there. But this was my church family, my only family. Had
been for years. Over a decade. Then seminary for years. To take this
on would take the majority of my emotional and spiritual attention
for more years. Trying to get their attention to get them to
understand, while being blamed.
I knew they would not have thought it was OK for a
black man to have a different standard of conduct as a minister than
a white man, to ordain him on those terms. They would have told
themselves they would have been fast to the forefront of justice on
that. They said to me my being gay was not an issue for them. I was
the one making a big deal out of it.
And when I attend even progressive Presbyterian
churches since then, the ministers don’t get it, the members don’t
get it. Why don’t I just join them in “happy church?” Surely I can.
What’s the problem with coming as a member?
I had moved my membership quickly to avoid
re-experiencing the burning hot stove of being disowned by my
extended family while being told it wasn’t happening. The minister
of my new church didn’t get the pain either. This was a different
church. Thus, I was surprised when attending one day, when not
pre-arranged, he announced from the pulpit that I was joining. And
he didn’t get it when I desperately, desperately, wanted to run out
of the church building, instead of “extending” and “being extended
the right hand of fellowship” by everybody in the congregation. I
knew that I would have sobbed through the whole receiving line,
while fielding happy welcomes and chats, while nobody got it, a
social embarrassment at best. This was not a celebration for me.
Membership in a church may usually be a celebration, but then for me
it was another step in the misunderstanding and distance from people
getting, even tolerating, my so overwhelming pain. Another step in
my moves within a denomination that was saying I was too dirty to be
close to the pulpit. Despite my standing up and being open with the
pain it cost to follow the call of God and walk forth anyway. While
others were saying they weren’t the victimizers. I should
immediately be happy with them. If not, I was creating the problem.
I should join them in “happy church.”
Thank you for being willing to tolerate as much as
you did to move gay ordination forward. To tolerate standing with
the pain of gay people long enough to do this.
— With you praying
for church of genuine community where we are able to stand, sharing
in each other’s joys and pains therein seeking God and the joys,
pains, and life of Jesus.
Jenny Stone, Memphis, May 2011
Former Member of the
How transformative inclusion fits within the larger vision of
global justice [5-12-11]
Sylvia Thorson-Smith, a member of the
Coordinating Team of PVJ and long active in Voices of Sophia,
was asked to participate in a press conference the day after the
required number of presbyteries acted to approve Amendment 10-A
for inclusive ordination. She preparing this as her
opening comment in that press conference:
I represent a group that’s the recent merger of a
passionate feminist organization and the oldest liberal issues
organization in the Presbyterian Church. We’re not connected with
the official structures of the church – just like the other groups
on this call.
Feminists have long made the connection between
issues of sex and gender – and all of the other “isms” that plague
us. When we strike a blow at any oppression, we undermine the entire
structure of oppression.
Twenty years ago, the Presbyterian Church soundly
rejected a report I helped write -- that said that patriarchal sex
bolsters patriarchal injustice. Compulsory heterosexuality – the
social mandate that everyone be heterosexual – also requires that
all men dominate all women, and the world. Lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender persons undermine the fundamental structures of
domination because they proudly refuse to conform to these
I believe that this movement has the power to
shake the world. Every country, some more than others, punishes LGBT
experience and behavior. And every victory to make institutions less
punitive moves us closer to more freedom for all.
This is a profoundly historic moment, not only for
the Presbyterian Church, but for the liberating energies at work all
over the world. We stand on the shoulders of people who have worked
not only for sex and gender justice but racial, environmental, and
other justice issues. What we celebrate today is part of the world’s
groanings for peace and freedom! Which is why we call for More
Light, more love, more justice!
One observer comments on the action of the
Presbytery of the Twin Cities.
"There was a
confidence in the air tonight. It was tangible and good."
Susan Robertson wrote this observation for the
MLP website, after attending the Twin Cities presbytery meeting
on Tuesday. Susan has been the bookkeeper for PVJ for the
past few years, and does the same invaluable job for MLP.
I was asked to write about my experience tonight
as the Twin Cities Presbytery became the 87th presbytery to vote in
favor of 10-A. I am not clergy, I am no longer a deacon in a church.
In fact, I haven't even walked into a church for many years, with
the exception of a Christmas Eve service.
I wanted to attend this presbytery meeting so that
I could witness history and be a part of the wave of change in the
Presbyterian Church and in society. I was struck by something that
the Vice Moderator of the presbytery said during her address to the
group. She talked about fear;
the fear of not being able to
be who you are, the fear of not being treated the way you would like
to be treated, and the fear of someone else changing a world that
doesn't really need to be changed.
The Vice Moderator went on to talk about how
love casts out that fear. She
reminded us that we should attempt to displace the fear with acts of
love. She challenged us to see what we can do to show our love to
those who are fearful.
I would believe that by this time, she had
captured all of our
Having never been to a presbytery meeting before,
everything was new and different. The people that were in favor of
10-A spoke first. One person mentioned that 10-A is not about a
group of people to be ordained, but rather about God's call to a
group of people to be ordained. There was much talk about "latitude"
in scriptural interpretation. Only one "youth" was represented and
spoke about God's radical and inclusive love.
Those against 10-A, who were far fewer in number,
rose and voiced their opinions against 10-A.
There was a confidence in the air tonight. It was
tangible and good. The highlight for me, other than the outcome, was
when a woman for 10-A rose
and spoke about how we were all knitted in God's womb. She paused
and then asked, "Has God ever dropped a stitch?"
"Now I can hold my head up high and proclaim to the world who I
am!! " [5-12-11]
We received this note yesterday from Pamela
Ann Reed, who now lives in Columbus, Ohio.
I finally feel that my role as a deacon has been
accepted by the whole church! Oh! I know that there are still those
who do not accept me!! But the church itself now does and that feels
so uplifting!! As a person who fits 2 of the letters in GLBT (T and
L) I feel vindicated in my role in the church!! I have been very
lucky to be part of two wonderful communities in the Presbyterian
Church! First at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, California and now
at Broad Street Presbyterian in Columbus, Ohio. I was just elected
to be a deacon at Broad Street and will soon be active as a deacon.
Now I can hold my head up high and proclaim to the
world who I am!! No more worrying that I will be told that I am not
worthy and can not follow my calling!! This is a most wondrous time
in our church!! Hallelujah!!!
Pamela Ann Reed
"... today, we give thanks that a major form of injustice has
been righted in our church."
from Presbyterian Voices for Justice [5-11-11]
For over thirty years, Presbyterians have debated
the will of God and refused to allow lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender persons to serve God in all ordained capacities in the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Whenever injustice is perpetuated, it
feels like a recurrence of the captivity of the Israelites in Egypt.
Like them, LGBT persons and their allies have cried to God for
justice, and our prayers have been answered. The Holy Spirit has
been praying with us in sighs too deep for words, and that Spirit
has touched human hearts in a massive movement for change.
Praise be to God that the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) has taken a giant leap of freedom and removed a major
barrier to equality among us. There is yet much to do to make the
PC(USA) a fully just and egalitarian community for all of its
members. But today, we give thanks that a major form of injustice
has been righted in our church.
The Coordinating Team of Presbyterian Voices for
May 11, 2011
Amendment 10-A is ratified!
afternoon, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area became the 87th
presbytery to approve of the constitutional amendment that drops
from the church’s rule a ban on the possibility of ordination (as
minister or elder) for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
persons. The responsibility for discerning persons’ suitability for
ordination is now placed where it was in the beginning of the
Reformed churches: in the hands of the ordaining body – i.e. the
presbytery for ministers, and the local church session for elders.
The vote was strongly supportive of the change:
out of 264 ballots cast, 205 were for the amendment, and just 56
against it, with 3 abstentions.
The discussion of the action was set up in a way
to minimize conflict and oppositional thinking about the subject.
First one member of the Committee on Bills and Overtures (Gordon
Dosher, who as a commissioner to the 2010 General Assembly was
assigned to the committee that dealt with the ordination question)
spoke for about ten minutes; he was followed by ten supporters of
the amendment, each being give just one minute to make his or her
point. Then a member for the Bills and Overtures Committee spoke for
ten minutes explaining his reasons for opposing the change, after
which ten others gave their reasons for opposing it.
I’ll try to summarize some of the points that were
made, and post some of the speeches in their entirety, after I get a
bit of sleep tonight.
And if you have news or thoughts
please send a note and enrich our discussion!
In the meantime, here are some reports already
Jerry Van Marter, writing for Presbyterian
News Service, opens with the headline:
“PC(USA) relaxes constitutional prohibition of gay and lesbian
CHANGE REAFFIRMS HISTORICAL PRACTICE OF
ORDAINING BODIES DETERMINING FITNESS FOR OFFICE”
Click here for his full report >>
More Light Presbyterians
begins its announcement of the news thus:
BREAKING GOOD NEWS! AMENDMENT 10-A IS RATIFIED
Grace and peace. We give thanks to God that the
219th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 10-A was ratified
tonight as Twin Cities was the 87th presbytery to approve it by a
vote of 205 to 56 with 3 abstentions.
Tonight Presbyterians join the United Church of
Christ, the Episcopalian Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America as denominations who have eliminated official barriers to
full membership, leadership and service for lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender persons. This is indeed a historic moment in the
life of the Presbyterian Church (USA), but also in the worldwide
The Covenant Network board has issued a statement
expressing gratitude for the passage of the amendment >>
Blogger John Shuck, in his happily
opinionated way, offer a brief roeport and concludes with the line,
“Today, finally, I can say that I am proud of my denomination.”
Heather Reichgott, another very thoughtful
blogger, provides a sensitive and insightful comment, beginning with
the thought: “We have been to the mountain top! And... there are
still more mountains. What joy, tonight, to learn that Amendment
10-A has been ratified!”
Click here for her blog >>
The New York Times report,
by Laurie Goodstein, begins:
Presbyterians Approve Ordination of Gay People
After 33 years of
debate, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted to change its
constitution and allow openly gay people in same-sex relationships
to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons.
The outcome is a
reversal from only two years ago, when a majority of the church’s
regions, known as presbyteries, voted against ordaining openly gay
This time, 19 of the
church’s 173 presbyteries switched their votes from no to yes in
recent months. The Twin Cities presbytery, which covers Minneapolis
and St. Paul, cast the deciding vote at its meeting on Tuesday. The
vote was 205 to 56, with 3 abstentions.
moderator of the church’s General Assembly, its highest legislative
body, said in a phone interview from Minneapolis after the vote:
“Everyone was civil. There was no applause, no cheering. It was just
reflective of the fact that we are moving forward one other step.”
Although by the time
the vote was taken in Minneapolis the outcome was expected,
Presbyterian church officials said that even a few months ago they
would not have predicted that the church was ready to change its
“All of us are
surprised,” said the Rev. Gradye Parsons, the church’s stated clerk,
its highest elected official. He attributed the turnabout in the
votes to both the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the larger
culture, and to church members simply wearying of the conflict.
The full story >>
Also in voting on
In voting today,
dubbed "May 10-A" in eager anticipation:
• New Harmony
increased its support for ordination equality, 28-72 (20-99-1 on
Kentucky also improved, 26-37-1 (compared to 17-42).
• Prospect Hill
followed suit, 22-44-1 (on 08-B, 12-63).
• And the
Presbytery of the Pacific became the
88th, increasing its support to 102-60-2 (100-90-3 on 08-B)!
• San Gabriel
capped off an amazing day by increasing its support to a tie, 92-92
(on 08-B, 79-136)! While a tie (since it is not an affirmative vote)
counts as a 'no,' this is a great achievement.
Thanks to Tricia
Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network
National Organizer, for this late report.
I’ll be back tomorrow
with more details and commentary on this great step forward for the
And if you have news or thoughts
please send a note and enrich our discussion!
Plains and Peaks shifts to support an inclusive church
Just one more affirmative vote
will ratify Amendment 10-A
Earlier today, Saturday, May 7, the Presbytery of
Plains and Peaks approved amendment 10-A by a vote of 73-51 moving
us to just one vote from ratifying this important change! This is a
magnificent shift from their vote two years ago, rejecting Amendment
08-B by 41 to 60.
Dakota Presbytery was also scheduled to meet this
weekend, but we don't yet have a report.
The next presbyteries to vote:
Tuesday, May 10: New Harmony, Pacific,
Prospect Hill, San Gabriel, Twin Cities Area, Western Kentucky. Of
these presbyteries, Pacific and Twin Cities Area have previously
approved the inclusive church amendment two years ago.
Saturday, May 14: Boise.
We encourage you to do whatever you can – by your
prayers, your phone calls, your own speaking in your own presbytery
– to move us one giant step toward greater justice and inclusive
love in our church.
Thanks to blogger
John Shuck, and Tricia
Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network
Middle Tennessee Presbytery flips to support 10-A
presbyteries voting this week on Amendment 10-A, to open the
possibility of ordination for LGBT Presbyterians, three have again
rejected the change, two of them (Foothills and Peaks) by narrower
margins than two years ago. St. Andrew maintained the same
percentage vote, though with fewer presbyters voting.
But the big news – the good news – is that Middle
Tennessee Presbytery voted today by 93 to 86 with 1 abstention, for
a more inclusive church. This is the 18th transformed presbytery,
having voted 95 to 139 against 08-B.
The national count is now 85 to 62. Two more
YES votes will ratify the constitutional change.
With Plains and Peaks voting on Saturday, and
possibly shifting to support the change, and Pacific and Twin Cities
voting on Tuesday (both of which supported inclusion in two years
ago, we are in sight of 87, and the change so many of us have worked
and prayed for, for so long!
Thanks to blogger
John Shuck, and Tricia
Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network
|One quick comment on this report,
from David Oliver-Holder of Bayfield, Wisconsin::
about the Middle Tennessee presbytery meeting, from
Trice Gibbons, who was active there on behalf of More
here on 5-7-11]
What a day! When I [left] this morning
at 7 a.m. to drive to Clarksville, we had no idea what
we were about to witness. We arrived in time to set up
the MLP display before worship started and I chuckled
when a leader of the opposition "discretely" positioned
himself in front of our MLP display to make access a
little more difficult. We then enjoyed an amazing
worship service with The Reverend Meg Flannagan
preaching on Lamentations. Can anyone say,
"appropriate?" The hospitality offered by Clarksville's
First Presbyterian Church was over the top.
There was an "information session"
10-A prior to lunch. In the packet for the commissioners
was the annual statistical report of membership by
congregation. Although the informational session was
supposed to only address questions about the amendment –
versus fostering debate, someone tried to draw a
parallel between a reported decline in membership at
Hillsboro Presbyterian, which sent a letter to churches
in the presbytery re: their support of 10-A, and the
support expressed. A representative from Hillsboro stood
and said, "We took on honest look at our roles for the
first time in 30 years; therefore, the decline
represents a trend over many years." Point squashed.
The Coordinating Council requested
that the pro and con sides identify "key note speakers"
to kick off the debate. The Reverend Sally Hughes of
Historic Franklin (who grew up in the Presbytery of
Middle Tennessee at Trinity – one of the MLP
congregations) spoke for the pro-side. She confessed
immediately that she had been a commissioner at the 1996
GA and had voted in favor of G-6.0106b. She said she
knew before that GA ended that she had made a mistake.
She represented that pro-side very well.
The con-side was represented by the
Senior Minister of Nashville's First Presbyterian
Church, the largest congregation in the Presbytery with
over 4,000 members. His argument was largely based on
fear regarding loss of membership. All of those arguing
against 10-A argued based on fear or quotes directly
from The Bible. All of those arguing for 10-A did so
with a message of hope. The question was called earlier
than most of us would have liked, but that turned out to
be a good thing.
... When the vote was read, the first
thing we heard was 93 yes and our hearts sank because we
knew that favorable vote last time was 95. ... Then we
heard 86 no and 1 abstention. There was a momentary..."Uhmmm,
what?" look on our faces before it began to sink in. ...
Many thank yous are due to those who spoke on behalf of
10-A, including ... those who called into the
presbyteries voted Saturday on Amendment A. Both voted
National Capital continued its strong support for
equality by approving the change to G-6.0106b by a vote of
River Valley (Omaha and environs) increased its pro-equality
margin and approved A, 52-39-4.
In a Sunday
meeting the Presbytery of the Foothills voted 64 to 95 against
the amendment – still a No, but by a narrower margin than two
years ago, when it was 34 to 99.
The tally is now
That means only
three more YESes to reach 87 and take a big step forward for
Click here for a listing of the presbyteries that have yet
to vote >>
Thanks to John Shuck (of
Shuck and Jive) and
Pam Byers (of Covenant
Three former Moderators of the PCUSA have written to the
church expressing their support for 10-A
The three former Moderators
-- Freda Gardner, Rick Ufford-Chase, and Bruce Reyes-Chow --
have sent their letter to the church as a whole. They
“...We've been asked what we think about 10-A,
so we decided to share our thoughts and hope with you in this
way. We also know that some in our Church are anxious about 10-A
and its passage. We imagine similar fears were expressed about
women's ordination. All of us are aware of the natural
kaleidoscope of feelings in the midst of change.
We believe that Amendment 10-A will be
profoundly helpful to the mission, future and witness of the
Presbyterian Church (USA)... “
Read the full letter >>
here it is in easy-to-print PDF format >>
An Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church from one of your
from Michael J. Adee, Executive
Director & Field Organizer, More Light Presbyterians
April 25, 2011
Grace and peace to all of you. I was baptized
as an infant at First Presbyterian Church, Billings, Montana. I
was taught faith, Scripture, the good news of the Gospel of
Jesus Christ and confirmed at Westminster Presbyterian Church,
Sulphur, Louisiana. As a kid and teenager, I loved going to
church and being part of a church family. I sang in our church
choir with my Dad, loved our youth group of four and the
all-church potluck dinners. I had Jesus' bumper stickers on my
1963 VW bug when I was in high school. I probably annoyed some
of my friends in high school and college with my Christian zeal.
When I affirmed being gay in my late twenties,
the Church was no longer a safe or loving place for me, so I
left the Church. I give thanks to God for being loved back to
faith by Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. I
was ordained and installed as an Elder there. I've served as an
Elder at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati and First
Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I began serving as a volunteer with More Light
Presbyterians in 1991 and on staff since 1999. I would not be in
the Presbyterian Church, or in any church, if not for Mount
Auburn Presbyterian Church and their unconditional welcome and
invitation to serve God with them.
I believe the 219th General Assembly's
Ordination Amendment 10-A offers this kind of unconditional
welcome and invitation to faith, grace, salvation, church
membership and ministry to all of God's children, not just some.
I've put a lot of my heart, thought,
reflection on Scripture, prayer and my life experience into why
I wholeheartedly support 10-A and believe it is a gift from God
for our Church right now. Our Church will more lovingly and
accurately reflect God's heart with the approval of 10-A.
My Top Ten Reasons to Support Amendment 10-A
1. This amendment returns our Church to the
historic Presbyterian way of focusing upon faith and character
as qualifications for ministry, not marital status or sexual
2. This amendment honors God's call to
ministry and the recognition of gifts for ministry given by God
to people regardless of gender, race, marital status, sexual
orientation or other human differences.
3. This amendment allows for local
congregations to call ministers, elders and deacons who can best
meet the needs within their own communities.
4. This amendment affirms the moral equality
of all persons and ends discrimination based upon marital status
or sexual orientation.
5. This amendment affirms God's diverse
creation that we can see in Scripture and in our life together
6. This amendment affirms the gift of love by
God to persons not limited by gender or race; and it provides
support for the beautifully diverse and sacred reality of love
and faithfulness experienced by couples and families in our
7. This amendment allows our Church the chance
to shift from 37 years of debate, legislation and judicial cases
about sexual orientation and to place our energies on mission,
service and a hurting world that needs our care and ministry.
8. This amendment is a helpful solution to the
14 years of departure from the historic Presbyterian standards
for ordination. It's time to be honest, G-6.0106b has failed our
Church. This "fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness"
requirement has brought nothing but hurt, suspicion, division
and driven people away from our Church.
9. This amendment affirms that God's creation,
God's love, God's grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are
available for all persons, not just some.
10. This amendment affirms Jesus' commandment
for us to love God, neighbor and self; and to recognize as
Jesus' taught that all persons are neighbors in God's world, no
Imagine, dream, pray and work with me for a
new way of being Church and serving in our world with the
passage of 10-A.
with hope and grace,
Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive
Director & Field Organizer
More Light Presbyterians, 369 Montezuma Avenue
# 447, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Two more presbyteries vote YES on Amendment A, for a more
just and inclusive church!
Yesterday (Tuesday, April 26)
Lehigh Presbytery continued its support for Amendment A, by
And the Presbytery of Florida switched to vote
Yes, by 49-36! It is the 17th presbytery to make that
great shift for justice.
The count of presbytery voting is now 82-59.
Five more Yes votes are needed to move the
PC(USA) a giant step forward.
Here is the remaining schedule >>
blogger the Rev. John
and to Tricia Dykers Koenig,
Covenant Network National Organizer.
De Cristo Presbytery switches to reject Amendment 10-A
more Yes votes needed
From John Shuck, on April 17
The Presbytery of De Cristo voted 62-62 on
Amendment A. In this business a tie means NO. This vote, sadly,
is a switch in the wrong direction. Last time around De Cristo
voted YES 59-48. Three presbyteries that have previously voted
YES for equality have switched their vote this time to no.
Compare that to 16 presbyteries that have flipped to YES from
The reckoning is 80-59 and we need seven more
presbyteries to vote YES to make this important change this
year. If it doesn't pass, then we do this all again in two
Here are the
presbyteries yet to vote. Their vote last time is in parentheses
followed by what we hope will happen!
We need seven YESes.
|Florida (41-46) Flip|
|Lehigh (60-46-2) Hold|
|Missouri River Valley (50-41-6) Hold|
|National Capital (222-102-1) Hold|
|Foothills (34-99) Miracle Flip|
|St. Andrew (30-50) Flip|
|Middle Tennessee (95-139-1) Flip|
|Peaks (74-136) Miracle Flip|
|Plains and Peaks (41-60) Flip|
|Pacific (100-90-3) Hold|
|Twin Cities (138-54-10) Hold|
|Kiskiminetas (34-70) Miracle Flip|
|New Harmony (20-99) Miracle Flip|
|Prospect Hill (12-63) Miracle Flip|
|San Gabriel (79-136) Miracle Flip|
|Boise (25-34) Flip|
|Des Moines (52-37) Hold|
|Charlotte (133-124) Hold|
|New York City (76-25) Hold|
|West Jersey (88-80) Hold|
|Shenango (4-101) Miracle Flip|
|Homestead (37-40-3) Flip|
|Sheppards and Lapsley (77-75) Hold|
|Los Ranchos (35-143) Miracle Flip|
|Missouri Union (31-48) Flip|
|Western New York (66-48) Hold|
|Peace River (62-83-1) Flip|
|Providence (39-48-4) Flip|
Unknown Date (and likely no)
|Dakota (no voice)|
|Hanmi (1-30) |
|Midwest Hanmi (?)|
|San Juan (no voice)|
|Western Kentucky (17-42) |
Posted By John Shuck to
Shuck and Jive at 4/17/2011 06:11:00 PM
San Francisco Presbytery
supports Amendment 10-A for inclusive ordination
John Shuck reported on the voting last night in his blog
[slightly edited here]:
Congratulations to the presbytery San
Francisco who voted in favor of amendment A Tuesday,
198-143. Strange to call San Francisco a flip, but last time
around they voted against equality 167-177-4.
Also, the Presbytery of Northern Kansas
continued its support of equality and approved "A today,
69-20. Nicely done.
The reckoning is 80-58.
That means we need only seven more YESes
to make a significant step in healing the church.
We have had 16 positive flips.
We have had 2 negative switches.
So that means 14 net flips.
35 presbyteries are yet to vote.
12 of those had voted YES last time.
We are in good shape.
But there is a lot of work to do.
For more details check the vote charts:
I am still holding on to my projection that the 87th YES
will be cast on May 17th.
De Cristo (59-48 last time) votes on
Celebration Without Apology
Also yesterday, the busy John Shuck posted
this commentary on the state of the voting on Amendment 10-A.
This posting does not necessarily represent the official views
of Presbyterian Voices for Justice, but your WebWeaver believes
it expresses some very important convictions that many of us
When we get to 87 I am going to celebrate.
Let there be no doubt. I am happy that the
PC(USA) is on the verge of changing its harmful, discriminatory,
bad, mean, ignorant and abusive policy. I have been an advocate
for change in this denomination since I first entered seminary
22 years ago joining a struggle--a battle--a fight--for equality
and dignity that started long before I was conceived.
Oh yes, I am going to celebrate.
I am aware of the advice from other advocates
for change that some of us should be less competitive or less
obviously joyful about the change that is coming. We are
reminded that there aren't winners and losers. We are all one in
Jesus and so forth. We need to be gracious to those who are
saddened about this change. We want to extend the arms of
welcome to them. We shouldn't be like the "secular" world in
terms of how it handles politics. We should be more Jesus like,
As if putting a Christian halo around our
stench makes us smell nice. Life is struggle. It is no different
within "the church" or without. The only difference is that
within the church we pretend to be something we are not. That is
called hypocrisy. "Let's be passive aggressive for Jesus."
This is a battle. This is a struggle. This is
a fight. There are opposing sides. There are winners. There are
Having been on the losing side for the past 22
years, I am happy to be on the winning side for a change. I am
happy that our denomination won't officially suspect and condemn
gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and unmarried heterosexuals
as being "sinners". It is long past time that the church got
this right. And yes, there is a right and wrong.
|It is wrong to exclude people based on
|It is wrong to deny people privileges and
|It is wrong to use spiritual violence
|It is wrong to use sacred texts as
|It is wrong to lie about people.|
These wrong behaviors have been used by the
opposition consistently throughout this struggle. I know this is
a fight when I talk to students on campus or hear the stories of
people in our PFLAG group. I hear the stories of harassment and
bullying, excommunication from faith communities, rejection from
family members because of what has been preached in church.
Oh yes, this is a fight.
And it will not end when the PC(USA) reaches
its 87th vote. There is no guarantee yet that we are even
getting to 87 this year. The steepest part of the climb is yet
to come. I am not worried about reconciliation with the
opposition at least until we get there. In the meantime, let's
get out the vote.
And pardon me if I don't shed a tear for those
say the church is apostate,
threaten to leave,
threaten to form alternate synods,
threaten to withhold money,
threaten to take the church to court for property,
[insert behavior here],
because of this change that is coming.
Barbara Wheeler and John Wilkinson will shed
tears for you. In the latest edition (April 18) of
Presbyterian Outlook, the two have written an article
entitled, "Please Don't Go."
In the cacophony of voices, we hope that
those who are distressed by the change will hear a clear
message from Presbyterians like us who helped to bring it
about. The message is this: PLEASE DON'T GO. Don't separate
from us, either by leaving the PC(USA) or by withdrawing
into a cul-de-sac inside it. We want and need to share a
denomination with you.
It is interesting that Barbara Wheeler in
particular says of this change that she "helped bring it about".
She was the one who advocated for No Action – which is NO – the
last time we voted on equality.
Whatever. Unlike those authors I will not
grovel or plead with those who are unhappy with equality. I will
treat you like an adult. If you want to go, feel free. If you
want to stay, feel free.
Do know this:
If you stay, I will not enable your prejudice
by rearranging deck chairs so you can find some way to reap the
benefits of affiliation with the denomination while at the same
time seeking power to exclude.
If you stay and you continue to use spiritual
violence against my people I will fight you at every turn.
If you stay, I will never for the sake of
"unity" with you throw LGBTQ people under the bus.
For my LGBTQ friends and allies who are
excited about the change that is coming:
A little spark of justice is on its way, my
friends. You don't have to be one bit apologetic for celebrating
Posted By John Shuck to Shuck and Jive at 4/12/2011
Two more presbyteries approve Amendment 10-A
Here's the latest news (and
commentary!) from John Shuck, on his blog,
Shuck and Jive:
news regarding equality. Two more presbyteries approved
Amendment A today. Salem in North Carolina approved the
amendment, 186-107-2 and Eastern Oregon voted YES 18-9.
is now 78-58.
37 presbyteries are left to vote. Of those 37, if nine vote YES,
then "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is outta here and the Presbyterian
Church (USA) will finally put an end to its discriminatory
policy against non-married people.
CovNet reminds us
that 78 yes votes is a milestone. The vote
chart from 2008-2009 shows
that 78 were all the yeses we received last time the PC (USA)
had a chance to do the right thing. We are in much better shape
this time and we need to follow the example of good folks all
over the country from Carolina to Oregon.
I have four more good resources on the sidebar to help you make
the case in your presbytery.
Rev. Mark Sandlin: Honestly, We
Already Ordain Homosexuals
Brian Spolarich: What Will
Amendment 10A Mean If Passed?
Katie Turpin: When Exclusions and Fears Disappear, the
Fruits of the Spirit Are Planted
Rev. Janet Edwards: It Is My Joy to Introduce You to My
|Northern Kansas (YES last
|San Francisco (no last time 167-177-4)|
|De Cristo (YES last time
We should get
three YESes from that bunch including a flip from San Francisco.
Life is good.
10-A voting continues – and support for passage must continue
reports on the current state of presbytery voting on
Amendment 10-A, for inclusive ordination. We are combining two
of his reports, one from earlier this morning, and one posted
late this afternoon with more good news:
The battle for
equality in the PC(USA) is tightening as is expected. Minnesota
Valleys [meeting on Saturday, April 2] became the second
presbytery to move from a pro-equality vote in 2008-09 to a no
this year, defeating Amendment A, 51-55.
negative switch earlier in the week, and no positive flips since
Donegal a few weeks ago, South Louisiana did justice up right by
voting in favor of Amendment A, 46-28! This is especially
interesting as South Louisiana was the clinching vote that
killed the equality vote last time around.
The tally is
So far, fifteen
presbyteries have flipped from a No vote in 2008-09 to a YES in
2010-11, while two have shifted in the other direction. This
could come down to one vote in one presbytery. It is that close.
Eleven more to
last time 25-34)|
Oregon (YES last time 22-6)|
last time 156-149-1)|
Kansas (YES last time 71-23)|
Francisco (no last time 167-177-4)|
(YES last time 59-48)|
We can do
Get out the vote.
Get to the meeting.
Make a phone call to friends.
Speak the truth!
Presbyteries voting on March 22 raise the total count to 73
FOR inclusive ordination, and 52 against, with 48 still to vote.
|Philadelphia voted overwhelmingly in
favor of Amendment A, 182-102.|
|Monmouth Presbytery also gave a strong
affirmative vote, 74-32.|
|There were hopes that Carlisle Presbytery
would shift to supporting ordination, but with apparently
strong get-out-the-vote efforts by both sides, the vote was
89 to 102 against ordination.|
The next votes expected:
|Baltimore on Thursday, March 24|
|Coastal Carolina on Saturday, March 26|
|North Puget Sound on Tuesday, March 29|
Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig,
National Organizer, and the Rev. John Shuck, on his
Shuck and Jive blog.
Presbytery voting on Amendment 10-A stands at 71 for, 50
Tricia Dykers Koening sums up the
voting by presbyteries on Saturday, March 19:
|Northern Plains registered improvement
but didn't quite get there, 32-34;|
|Newark continued its support at 34-21;|
|Utah held firm with a tally of 30-25;|
|Whitewater Valley widened its supportive
margin significantly, 124-89; and|
|Donegal became the 14th presbytery to
switch to support of 10-A from opposition to 08-B! They
shifted to favor inclusive ordination by 83-80-1.|
We also had Northumberland Presbytery on
today's schedule, but haven't heard a report; they have
never supported amending G-6.0106b in the past. And we
learned that Eastern Korean voted against 10-A earlier this
The voting is clearly trending toward approval
of a more just and inclusive policy on ordination in the PC(USA),
but continued, consistent efforts will be crucial in bringing it
to a successful conclusion.
The next presbyteries to vote:
|Tuesday, March 22: Carlisle, Monmouth,
|Thursday, March 24: Baltimore|
|Saturday, March 26: Coastal Carolina|
So the count as of March 19 is:
Total Presbytery Yes Votes on 10-A 71
Presbyteries moving from No to Yes
Total Presbytery No Votes on
Presbyteries Left to Vote 52
Presbyteries moving from Yes to No 1
For the full chart of voting
Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant
Network National Organizer
, and to John Shuck, blogger of
Shuck and Jive
Three more presbyteries vote for Amendment 10-A
What a nice
way to celebrate Mardi Gras!
|Transylvania Presbytery continued their
support at 78-48, and widening the 08-B margin (83-61)|
approved by a margin of one vote, 46-45 – a good reminder
that getting out the vote can make a real difference, and
that the present favorable vote totals do not guarantee a
win for justice. Their 08-B vote was 60-39-2.|
|New Brunswick, with a very convincing
88-10-3 (95-44 on 08-B)|
So the total now stands at 65 for the change, 43 against.
Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig,
One more presbytery votes for inclusive ordination
report comes mainly from John Shuck's blog,
Shuck and Jive
The month of March is off to a good start for
Amendment A! Here is this week's roundup from Tuesday March 1st
through Saturday, March 5th:
Holding to YES!
|Northern New England 63-15|
|Ohio Valley 77-32-2|
|West Virginia 93-56|
Holding to no.
|North Central Iowa 43-50|
FLIP from no to YES!
Switching from yes to no.
Each one of the YES votes except Yellowstone increased their YES
percentage. North Central Iowa improved its YES percentage as
The score is now 62-44 with 12 net flips.
If every presbytery yet to vote voted as they
did last time, Amendment A will pass by three votes. A huge
thank you to all of those who worked hard in every presbytery!
The real hope is that if
|every equality-minded person gets to the
|phone calls are made,|
|resources are shared (see sidebar),|
|folks speak from the heart,|
|Amendment A will pass! |
Presbyterian Right is
campaigning hard against passage of Amendment 10-A
surprise that conservative groups are working hard this year to
defeat Amendment 10-A, which would amendment the Presbyterian
Book of Order to permit presbyteries and congregations to
consider LGBT members for ordination as pastors and elders. If
your presbytery has not yet acted on this amendment, you might
want to be aware of the kind of arguments that are being set
forth, so you can respond to them effectively and thoughtfully
in discussions and debates.
In addition to the voting guides that The
Presbyterian Layman distributes around the country, the
Presbyterian Coalition is sending out oppositional emails to
local churches to criticize the 219th General Assembly's
Amendment 10-A. Under the banner of "The Campaign to Reclaim
Biblical Teaching," these e-mails claim to offer the one and
“right” way to interpret Scripture.
The Presbyterian Coalition holds that
homosexuality is sinful, that LGBT persons are not capable of
Christian character or moral behavior, and that Scripture is
absolutely clear on these matters. The Presbyterian Coalition
opposes ordination of LGBT persons in our Church regardless of
God's call, gifts and qualifications for ministry. The
Presbyterian Coalition claims to know and represent God's will
on these matters as declared in their email below.
We encourage you to anticipate attempts to use
the Bible in opposition to 10-A. Below is a copy of one of their
oppositional e-mails. Sadly, the information being sent out does
not offer the actual text of 10-A nor the substance of the
amendment. It only says: "That amendment seeks to remove the
‘fidelity and chastity’ requirement from the Book of Order in
Given this attack on 10-A, it becomes very
important to have the actual text of Amendment 10-A available at
the presbytery meeting, so that people know what they are voting
on. This is one way to show true respect for conscience, and for
the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of others.
Here is the text of one recent letter from the
“Campaign to Reclaim Biblical Teaching”
|March 3, 2011
Dear Pastor and Clerk of Session,
Your presbytery will be voting on
amendments to the Presbyterian Church (USA)
constitution in the near future. Please make an
extra effort to have every presbytery commissioner
from your church present and voting.
Amendment 10-A is a particular
concern. That amendment seeks to remove the
"fidelity and chastity" requirement from the Book of
Order in G-6.0106b. As the voting stands today, the
number of presbyteries favoring the amendment
exceeds the number opposing it. The numbers of
commissioners voting this time is significantly
reduced from prior votes. In several cases, the
outcome has been determined by fewer than five
votes. You can make a difference in the remaining
This is a matter of great concern
and urgency. God's Word and will have not changed.
Faithfulness to Jesus Christ in the witness and life
of the PC(USA) is at risk.
The exact date, time, and place of
voting are available from your presbytery office and
may be available on your presbytery's website. You
may have received hard copies of the proposed
amendments. If not, they are available to you on the
The Presbyterian Coalition and the
Campaign to Reclaim Biblical Teaching are committed
to upholding biblical faithfulness and
constitutional integrity in the PC(USA). I want to
refer you to a website that is devoted to resources
on the amendments:
If I can be of assistance to you
as you prepare for these votes, please call me or
contact me by email. My contact information is
Please go and vote wisely and
In the name of Christ and for his
Campaign to Reclaim Biblical Teaching
"Gay cause leads in PCUSA
Christian Century offers its latest report on the PC(USA)
process of voting on Amendment 10-A.
John Dart comments on the current voting
Presbyterians on both sides of the issue
have despaired over the seemingly unending debates on the
issue at the national and local levels of the Louisville,
While some conservative "renewal" groups
have worked to maintain what they describe as biblically
based Christian standards, some congregations and church
members have left the PCUSA to link up with the conservative
Presbyterian Church in America, the Evangelical Presbyterian
Church or independent congregations.
In recent months, members of a new group,
tentatively named the Fellowship and led by pastors opposed
to gay clergy and to liberal social and theological views,
have talked about enlisting "like-minded" Presbyterians to
leave behind the "rancorous, draining internal disputes that
paralyze our common life and ministry" and form a fellowship
focused on missions reflecting "classic biblical,
A comment from your WebWeaver:
The headline over this story is from the
Christian Century. We would prefer to see this label not as
“the gay cause,” but as the cause of justice, or inclusive, or
integrity in the church. The effort to make inclusive ordination
possible in the PC(USA) is not simply a “gay” issue – by a long
For the whole story >>
One more shift for justice in the voting on Amendment 10-A
Presbytery flipped for justice today! This presbytery in the
heart of Texas voted 201-194-1 to approve Amendment A improving
our score to 58-44 and adding to the number of presbyteries that
have flipped from no to YES for a more just and inclusive
Voting tomorrow (Saturday, March 5): Geneva,
Grace, Northern New England, Ohio Valley
Tuesday, March 8: Eastminster, New Brunswick
(unless they vote to delay), Transylvania
Thursday, March 10: Abingdon
Thanks to John Shuck, sole proprietor of the
Shuck and Jive blog, and to Tricia Dykers Koenig, of
10-A voting on Saturday, February 26, 2011
John Shuck has put together the first report I’ve seen about
presbytery voting this weekend on Amendment 10-A, to open
ordination to LGBT Presbyterians:
So far eleven presbyteries have voted this week:
Three FLIPPED from no to YES:
|Central Nebraska 36-16|
|Indian Nations 45-41|
Four held on to their previous YES:
|East Tennessee 71-63|
|Santa Fe 101-17-1|
|Tres Rios 35-32|
Five held on to their previous NO:
|Tampa Bay 91-120|
|Northeast Georgia 75-87 (but with big
|South Dakota 32-49|
|Western Colorado 13-29|
|Flint River 26-54|
None switched from YES to no this week!
according to MLP is 55-40 in favor of Amendment A!
Where are we so far?
The big news: twelve flips from no to YES so far.
One flipped the other way.
But we only need nine net flips to win.
We are in good shape with tough votes to come.
We have to hold every yes and work to flip some more nos!
From Mackinac Presbytery, Moderator
Steve Hammond reports that 10-A passed by a vote of 44-30. [That
was little changed from the vote 2 years ago.] He adds that it
was “a collegial gathering and civility on all sides [was]
More Light Presbyterian Board issues statement on Amendment
We stand at the half way point in the
presbyteries’ voting on proposed Amendment 10-A, which would
return the church to our historically Presbyterian way of
calling church officers. In true Reformed tradition, faithful
Presbyterians throughout the church have been advocating
passionately to affirm the inalienable right of governing bodies
to elect their own officers.
We are very hopeful that this will be the year
that the church acts to unbind the Holy Spirit and open the door
to ordination for those qualified and called to serve. We
rejoice in this positive momentum and give thanks for all those
who have labored to change hearts and minds, and for those
presbyteries that have come to understand that the conflict
created in our church by the present G-6.0106 b. is intolerably
hurtful to our denomination.
We encourage and welcome the support of all in
the ratification of 10-A, confirming our commitment to work
faithfully together, acknowledging our oneness in Christ, and
our common call to reconciliation.
Adopted by the National MLP Board of Directors
on 2/21/2011 in Kansas City, Missouri
Follow the vote, or inquire
about getting involved at
More movement toward an inclusive
Here are the results from the 10
presbyteries voting on Amendment 10-A today:
5 continued their support, voting to approve
both 08-B and 10-A
|Arkansas, 120-42, widening their margin
to nearly 3-to-1|
|New Hope, 158-118, also a strong showing|
|John Knox, 60-19, crossing the 75%
|Northern Waters, 39-14, solid but with
fewer numbers than last round|
|Greater Atlanta, 262-157-5, transforming
a 10-vote margin on 08-B to over 100 on 10-A!|
3 remained in the 'no' column
|Lake Erie, also 36-44 and a significant
|Palo Duro, 35-50|
2 switched to support!!
|South Alabama, 34-33|
|North Alabama, 36-28|
Initial reports from both Lake Erie and North
Alabama mentioned several speakers witnessing to their change of
mind - some that even surprised the organizers!
The presbytery tally now stands at 46
approving, 34 failing to approve, and over 55% of individual
presbyters voting in favor of the change.
The presbytery voting now stands at 46-34
with eight net shifts from opposing to supporting an inclusive
church. Ninety-three presbyteries have yet to vote.
So it’s not a done deal! For passage of
Amendment 10-A, a net of one more presbytery must shift to
supporting the amendment. But that means continued efforts to
help brother and sister presbyters see the virtue (yes, virtue!)
in moving toward an open and welcoming church, with an inclusive
ministry and elder leadership. It means continued efforts to get
out the vote. (Did you notice that South Alabama approved 10-A
by 1 vote?
So there is still work to be done! But we say
a warm word of thanks to all who have brought us this far.
Presbyteries voting this week include:
|Tuesday, Detroit and Wabash Valley|
|Tuesday or Wednesday, Western Colorado|
|Friday, South Dakota (postponed from
Monday due to snow) and Tres Rios|
|Friday or Saturday, Yukon|
Thanks to Tricia Dykers
Koenig, Covenant Network
National Organizer and to
indefatigable blogger (and minister)
And lots of other good people as well.
For vote charts:
If you have
news to add
- perhaps details from one of the presbytery meetings --
or opinions to offer,
just send a note,
and we'll share it here.
Savannah Presbytery shifts to support 10-A
Presbytery actions so far: 39 for, 31
By 40 to 33, the Presbytery of Savannah voted
today to support Amendment 10-A, which would definitively open
the Presbyterian Church to the possibility of ordaining gay and
lesbian persons, shifting from their past opposition to such a
This followed actions by two
Hudson River Presbytery approved the change
by a pretty convincing margin: 81 to 6. And Olympia Presbytery remained in the No column,
by a vote of 39-78, which was narrower than in past votes.
That puts the presbytery tally at 39-31, with
a net gain of 6 out of the needed 9 new supportive presbyteries.
Presbyteries voting tomorrow (Saturday,
February 19) are Arkansas, Greater Atlanta, John Knox, Lake
Erie, New Hope, North Alabama, Northern Waters, Palo Duro,
Pines, South Alabama.
And on Monday, South Dakota Presbytery will
Thanks again to the
Rev. John Shuck
and Tricia Dykers Koenig,
National Organizer .
More on Amendment 10-A >>
Yesterday’s voting on Amendment
presbyteries took action yesterday on 10-A:
Hudson River Presbytery approved the change by
a pretty convincing margin: 81 to 6.
Olympia Presbytery remained in the No column,
by a vote of 39-78, which was narrower than in past votes.
Thus the current tally shows
38 to 31 in favor of 10-A,
with more than 54% of presbyters approving.
Thanks to Tricia Dykers
Koenig, Covenant Network
Voting on inclusive ordination is
running in favor of the change
As of this morning, voting by
presbyteries on Amendment A was 37 for, and 30 against. That in
itself is good news, and holds promise for the long-awaited
change to make our denomination more open, more welcoming, more
just. A net shift of four more presbyteries (there have been
five so far) would put this historic change into effect.
Sorry for my poor arithmetic that led me
to say a shift of nine more presbyteries is needed - it's
just four! Your numerically challenged WebWeaver.
And thanks to
for catching this.
A few highlights of recent presbytery actions:
So far the six presbyteries that have shifted
from No to Yes on inclusive ordination are Eastern Oklahoma,
Cincinnati, Riverside, St. Augustine, Eastern Virginia and
Over the past few days, other presbyteries
have continued, and generally increased, their support for
Southern New England, 89-41
Susquehanna Valley, 50-22-2
Winnebago, in a hand vote
and Miami Valley, 58-36-4, after voting down a substitute motion
to take no action on the amendment (which would have had the
effect of a 'no')
In Tuesday’s voting, three presbyteries
continued their strong support:
Maumee Valley approved 67-39, extending the
margin compared to 08-B/
Scioto Valley voted 118-65-2.
Chicago's tally was 185-61-1, another strong affirmation with
75% of the vote.
These presbyteries failed to approve, but by
much reduced margins in most:
Inland Northwest, the exception with 44-74
(compared to 44-76 on 08-B)
Trinity, 63-80 (on 08-B, 48-106-2)
Mid-South, 48-49! (on 08-B, 31-67)
Glacier, where we do not have a count but this report: "I don't
know the final vote, it was not mentioned, but I know we missed
by four votes. I also know 5 people who would have voted in the
affirmative, but were unable to make presbytery due to the
weather." The Glacier count on 08-B was 7-28.
Tricia Dykers Koenig, of Covenant Network,
adds this important suggestion, from Gregg Rabenold, who was a
commissioner to the 219th from Cincinnati, about their meeting
earlier this week:
We are very excited that 10-A passed in
Cincinnati. I think we had a good mix of people that got up
to speak (several new people) and I think there was good
organization of getting the necessary people out for the
If I had to do it over again, I would have
liked to see one person from our side hit the biblical
interpretation issue. This seems to be the main argument for
the other side and no one from our side offered arguments
against this aspect. Not that anyone will change their
interpretive view on the spot, but it is always good to
plant seeds for future growth. [TDK note: Many undecided or
wavering people need "permission from God" to do what their
instincts tell them about how Christians treat each other.
If we ignore Scripture, our position can seem illegitimate
I think the most important thing is to get
the right people there to vote. I don't know if any votes
are swayed by the arguments of the day.
With that said, I did get up to speak and
my arguments were as follows:
1. Talked about my gay son briefly and
mentioned my concern that he would not be able to get the
blessings from serving the church as I have.
2. Talked about this being a divisive
issue where many of us will never agree.
3. Pointed to the language of the
amendment, stating that this language was a great compromise
for us to agree to disagree. That the language does not
promote or encourage homosexuality.
Presbyteries scheduled to vote on Thursday:
Hudson River, Olympia; Friday: Savannah, South Alabama.
I’ll close by echoing what so many others are
saying: We all need to do whatever we can to improve the hope
that we all share for a just and welcoming church, by calling
friends and colleagues, offering rides, preparing short, clear
affirmations of why this change is a good thing for all of us,
getting out the vote.
by Doug King -- with thanks
to Tricia Dykers Koenig,
John Shuck, and others.
For more information:
More on the ratification of Amendment
The Rev. Ray Bagnuolo has posted more thoughts
– and deep ones – on the continuing debate in our presbyteries
about Amendment 10-A, which would make our ordination standards
fully inclusive of LGBT Presbyterians.
First, his own thoughts, making clear than the
“more than the ratification of 10-A.” We are
confronted, he says, with a far broader and deeper question: How
do we understand and live out God’s love?
He concludes with these
final consideration in voting for ratification” --
a) Can we be faithful by excluding our
baptized sisters and brothers who are LGBT from the full
work and worship of the PC(USA)? Is ours a God who excludes
those God has created?
b) Can we be faithful to the teachings of
Jesus and the Church by fostering a climate of violence
towards our LGBT sisters and brothers, affirming others’
hatred and homophobia with our decisions to marginalize?
c) Can we be a faithful reflection of God
as Love by using our Constitution or fears to create a class
of people less welcome or worthy than others?
Were that this was simply a matter of
making a decision about loving one another as God loves us.
It may be that such love is still growing in us, but with a
decision to ratify Amendment 10-A, it may be much closer
than we think in leading us to the family and witness we are
meant to be.
Ray Bagnuolo is an openly gay minister of Word and Sacrament,
currently serving Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood
House and its inner city ministry in NYC. He also serves on the
Board of More Light Presbyterians.
Also: "The Corrosive and
Distorting Power of the Closet"
Ray has also posted a provocative piece by
"The Corrosive and Distorting Power of the Closet"
written in response to
in the “It Gets Better” collection that
followed the rash of teen suicides a few months ago.
“about the corrosive and distorting power of the Closet. As you
know, the "Closet" is a metaphor used to describe how people
hide important parts of themselves, typically their sexual
orientation or gender identity.”
She goes on to
describe the changes going on in our own time:
Closet's existence is based on powerful manipulation; BUT it
is also a means of control that is diminishing in the world
at an increasingly rapid pace.
breaking apart in a seemingly sudden way. And as it fades,
it releases its relentless grip on all of us: gay and
straight, open or not, conservative or liberal or
For we have
ALL been influenced by the Closet, as it has distorted our
view of the world and of each other.
As the Closet
crumbles, we will see how this change will affect our lives,
our denomination and the lives of the younger generations
who will, we hope, live in a world without it. ...
has stated so clearly: "Silence never helps the oppressed.
Only the oppressor."
the basic fact that most people are heterosexual and some
people are not will be a necessary part of the way forward.
Without the distortion of the Closet, this fact is becoming
more apparent with each passing day.
herself as “Karen Ellen Kavey, Non-ruling Elder, PC(USA),
Confirmed May, 1958.”
Evangelical Arlo Duba explains why he has changed his mind on
the question of ordination
As a way of furthering conversation in our
presbyteries about the proposed Amendment 10-A, which would give
clear permission for the ordination of lgbt Presbyterians, More
Light Presbyterians is placing an ad in Presbyterian Outlook. In
the ad, the Rev. Dr. Arlo D. Duba, former Director of Admissions
& Director of Chapel, at Princeton Theological Seminary, and
former Dean at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and a
committed evangelical, explains why he has changed his mind on
the question of ordination.
We encourage you to
read his brief statement in the ad,
then look at his
further discussion in an interview.
MLP also provides
a web page
through which you can share your own thoughts with Dr. Duba.
We encourage you
to consider this fine example of our church “reformed and always
being reformed,” and to share Dr. Duba’s thoughts with
colleagues in your presbytery who may be concerned about some of
the same questions that he has dealt with.
Here's a short introduction to the Assembly’s action to improve
One of the most important actions of the 219th General
Assembly was to approve again, as in 2008, an overture that would amend the
so-called “fidelity and chastity clause” of the Book of Order (G-6.0106b).
Some observers were surprised at the
relatively narrow margin of the vote (373-323-4), since the Church Orders and Ministry
committee had approved the change by a vote of 36-16-1 – with 67%
supporting, compared to just 53% voting for the change in the plenary
session. This difference may reflect the fact that committee members had
devoted much more study and reflection to the issue, and so were more able
to come to a position that was more open to change.
According to the overture, candidates are to be examined by presbyteries
(for ministers) or sessions (for elders and deacons) based on calling,
gifts, preparation and suitability. Governing bodies, guided by Scripture
and the confessions, would also determine candidates’ ability and commitment
to fulfilling requirements stated in the constitutional questions for
ordination and installation.
Speaking in favor of the overture, the Rev. John Vest (Presbytery of
Chicago) said the PC(USA) must change its Constitution to move forward. The
overture does more than just remove language – it adds language that is just
and constitutional, he said. Ordination examinations should be “vigorous and
The Rev. William Reid Dalton III (Salem Presbytery), among others,
opposed the overture, saying that with the GA’s approval of the Belhar
Confession and the new Form of Government, presbyteries already have much to
The assembly rejected a minority report from the Church Orders and
Ministry Committee, which called for a pastoral letter to be sent to
sessions and for the reversal of the authoritative interpretation issued at
the 218th GA (2008).
At a press conference following the assembly’s vote, committee moderator
elder Theresa Denton said she’d like conversations about ordination
standards to be about trust rather than fear or anxiety. She said she
doesn’t see the proposed amendment as a move toward lowered standards, but
toward increasingly higher ones that look at the totality of a candidate’s
Michael Adee, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, commented
that in striking down the celibacy requirement, the Assembly adopted “one
standard for all.” “Instead of looking at one’s marital status or sexual
orientation or gender identity, it’s about a person’s life, faith, and
character,” he said.
Heather Grantham, a seminarian at San Francisco Theological Seminary,
considers the new ordination standard “a better and higher standard,”
adding, “It’s a step forward on all fronts, whether gay or straight,” so
now, “it’s not all about sex.” Grantham, who attended General Assembly both
as a young adult advisory delegate and as a theological student advisory
delegate, also serves as family ministry director for the Noe Valley
Ministry Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, which is a More Light
Lisa Larges, the minister coordinator for That All May Freely Serve, said
that approval by the presbyteries can’t be taken for granted. “One of the
things we’ve talked about is that the presbyteries won’t talk about it if
they are not forced to. So this forces us to have the conversation [about
ordination equality] one more time.”
The Covenant Network of Presbyterians issued a statement saying it “is
grateful that the 219th General Assembly voted to continue the progress made
by the last two General Assemblies toward a more gracious and welcoming
church.” They added, “We have seen steady movement toward acceptance of
God-given gifts for congregational leadership and service. We will work to
help presbyteries continue this progress.”
The full text of the current standard, in
Those who are
called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture
and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church.
Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within
the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity
in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice
which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as
deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.
proposed new standard reads:
for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the
Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing
body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450)
shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability
for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not
be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to
fulfill all requirements
as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation
(W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the
confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.
For this proposed amendment, as it is being sent to the presbyteries by
the Office of the General Assembly, with the Background and Rationale from
The Presbytery of the
Western Reserve, click here,
and see pages 1 - 2.
For the full GA committee report, click
Below you will find:
Resources from ...
about the actions on Amendment 10-A (needing your contributions!)
discernment, debate, and voting in the presbyteries
Kit” includes links to many documents from GA and other sources.
This page provides a
wide ranges of materials, and we can only urge you to look through the list
for those that might meet your needs.
One older but very helpful
collection is the “Yes
On 08-B” packet prepared for presbytery debates on a similar amendment
from the 2008 General Assembly.
Click here to
download the 40-page document.
Here's one very helpful summary, from MLP:
FAQ on Ordination Amendment 10-A
does the revised text actually say?
By a vote of 54% to 46% the
219th GA sends to the presbyteries the following amendment to the Form of
To replace the present text
of G-6-0106b with this:
G-6.0106b. Those who are
called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the
constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003)
pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the
Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the
Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of
the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the
standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination
for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes
the candidate's sincere efforts to adhere to these standards.
2. Why is this text better than the paragraph it
This revision better reflects
our Presbyterian traditions. This amendment restores constitutional language
to the standards for ordination. It places its emphasis on the vows every
officer must take as he/she is ordained and/or installed. It rightly places
the responsibility for determining fitness for office on the examining
This revision is better
theologically. The revised text puts the focus exactly where it should be –
on Jesus, the Scriptures, and the Confessions – the essential values at the
center of our theological tradition. Since all of us, all the time, sin and
fall short of God's glory, it should remain with the governing and the
electing bodies to make the judgment with grace and faithfulness to
Scripture and the Constitution, of any potential officer's character and
gifts for office.
This revision therefore
represents a higher standard for ordained office, since it broadly includes
all aspects of character and qualification for candidates for the offices of
Deacon, Elder, and Minister of Word and Sacrament.
might this amendment bring the church together again?
This amendment represents a
compromise that restores traditional Reformed understandings of ordination
standards that should be acceptable to most Presbyterians. Properly
understood, this amendment should enable our church to lay aside our
conflicts and to move forward in mission and growth.
will this vote take place?
Each presbytery will vote on
the Amendment 10-A according to a schedule determined by the Council of that
presbytery. The 219th General Assembly strongly encouraged every presbytery
to develop a process of discernment and prayer before any vote is taken. The
Stated Clerk of the PCUSA has asked that all votes by taken by mid-May,
2009, so that printing of the Book of Order may proceed in a timely fashion.
Contact your Stated Clerk or Council to find out what the schedule is. Try
to encourage a reconciling process and a secret ballot on the amendment at a
meeting most convenient for elder commissioners.
churches and presbyteries still be able to elect the officers they want?
Yes. In the Reformed
tradition the election of church officers, Deacons, Elders and Ministers of
Word and Sacrament, belongs to the body in which they will serve. The
examination of those elected must be carried out by the governing body that
has responsibility for election. No church officer may be placed in a
permanent position without the consent of the people.
6. How can
this process be made more reconciling and positive?
The 219th General Assembly
strongly encouraged all presbyteries to develop a process for prayer and
discernment leading to this vote. To help your presbytery prepare for a
constructive, reconciling and positive ratification, see the resources
to help ratify Amendment 10-A in your Presbytery!
Send an e-mail to our Rev.
Debra Peevey, our Campaign Outreach Director, at
firstname.lastname@example.org Kindly include your
name, contact info, and which Presbytery you are in. We're looking forward
to hearing from you!
The Covenant Network also provides many very good resources
What It Does and Doesn't Do -- just a bit of clarification about
sets forth very briefly the basic tenets of our basic
Reformed, showing gently but clearly how Amendment 10-A would be deeply
faithful to our tradition.
10 Reasons to
Support gives an excellent, brief outline
of the reasons why approving this change will be a great gift to the PC(USA).
[see full text below]
Catholicity, Inclusivity, and the 'Protest-ant' Charism,
by Ken Cuthbertson, a gay minister in Albuquerque, NM, explores the ways in
which “the challenges to Tradition and Institution posed by those who
‘protest” [for more open and inclusive ordination] are a true gift and
charism, ever urging the Church onward to a broader deeper catholicity.”
A very useful set of short
papers by Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network’s National Organizer, each
one answering from a particular angle the question of “why make this
of the People views the proposed change in
terms to the human gifts and sufferings of people whom God loves.
Because of Scripture and Theology walks us
through the deeply Biblical reasons for making this change, while answering
some of the supposedly Biblical arguments against it.
Because of Presbyterian Polity shows how
replacing the old G-6.0106b would bring our church much more into harmony
with our basic polity and understanding of the Church.
of the Church shows how “Amendment 10-A
will free the church for mission, both evangelism and social justice, by
eliminating official policy that has contributed to the impression of the
unchurched that Christians have forgotten to follow Jesus, and by allowing
the PCUSA to move beyond this argument.”
Differs describes briefly how Amendment
10-A differs from (and is an improvement over) Amendment 08-B which was
narrowly rejected by the presbyteries two years ago.
Reasons the PC(USA) Needs Amendment 10-A
Proposed Amendment 10-A
would replace the current language of G-6.0106b with the following:
Standards for ordained
service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship
of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body
responsible for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240; G-14.0450)
shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and
suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall
include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s
ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the
constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003).
Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in
applying standards to individual candidates.
1. Amendment 10-A
focuses on potential officers’ desire to serve and follow Jesus Christ. (The
current G-6.0106b doesn’t even mention Christ.)
2. The proposed
amendment sets a high standard for all church officers; it does not single
out one group of church members for special scrutiny and exclusion.
3. Amendment 10-A
assumes careful and prayerful examination of all candidates for church
office – considering their “calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability . .
. and commitment to fulfill all requirements” as well as the examining
body’s understanding of Scripture and the confessions.
4. The new language
focuses attention on candidates’ whole manner of life and faith, not solely
on their sexuality (which is one aspect among many of faithful living).
5. Amendment 10-A does
not privilege one disputed interpretation of Scripture with respect to
same-gender relationships over all others; it maintains “freedom of
conscience with respect to the interpretation of Scripture” (G-6.0108). The
current G-6.0106b forces half the church to follow an interpretation that
violates their conscience.
6. The new amendment
would replace a standard that is impossible to apply honestly. If we
genuinely excluded everyone who persists in “any practice which the
confessions call sin,” we would have no deacons, elders, or ministers at
7. The proposed
amendment returns us to the core Presbyterian principle that national
standards are interpreted and applied to individual candidates by local
governing bodies – people who actually know the candidate and ministry. No
presbytery or session would be required to ordain a candidate of whom they
disapprove; and no presbytery or session would be prohibited from calling an
officer with whom they wish to serve.
8. Amendment 10-A honors
the time-honored Presbyterian practice of maintaining unity by respecting
freedom of conscience in the interpretation of Scripture and offering one
another mutual forbearance in non-essential matters.
9. Passing Amendment
10-A this year will mean we do not need to debate this issue again next
year, or the next. Our current law, which excludes significant parts of our
body and offends the conscience of many more, is unsustainable. This
question will come before every G.A. until we find a way to live together
that acknowledges the value of every church member.
10. Passing Amendment 10-A
would allow the church to focus on other essential mission, and present a
far more winsome witness to the world. The church does not need or assume
uniformity of views; it does need common discipleship and commitment to
serving our Lord.
A new resource on Amendment 10-A -- arguments for and
Doug Hagler and Aric Clark have completed an LGBTQ Ordination
Resource that they hope to distribute to every presbytery for
the upcoming debates on 10-A. It is a 4page document responding
to common arguments against LGBTQ inclusion and making our own
We aimed to be comprehensive (though not
exhaustive) in a pithy, quick and dirty and to the point
kind of way. We have included many people in the editing
process to help cover our blind spots. We hope we have
produced something useful to complement the other resources
We hope you will read this reflect on it
and share it with friends. The most important help you can
give us though, is helping us distribute this. ...
We have created two layouts of the
document for ease of use. One is a
booklet format. The other is a
portrait format. In the coming weeks we will be doing a
detailed breakdown of the arguments at
http://twofriarsandafool.blogspot.com/ with citations to
support every point, so this resource will only grow and
improve over time.
Here is hoping we are in a more just and
inclusive church in the near future.
Doug Hagler & Aric Clark
All May Freely Serve seeks real-life videos for their
173 TV project
TAMFS has announced a contest, inviting people to tell
their stories to the elders and ministers who will be voting in their
presbyteries on Amendment 10-A. The group is asking people to talk about
questions like these:
|What would you tell these people [before they vote]?|
|What story of hope would you offer?|
|If you’ve left the church, because of its prejudice
and fear, what would make you come back?|
|If you feel called to serve the church, what are your
|What would a welcoming, vibrant, revitalized,
relevant church be like?|
|What’s the message you would share to help those
voters gain a new perspective?|
A very interesting challenge! We will try to bring you the
results as soon as they are made public.
Click here for details >>
For information on submitting
your entry, contact Sonnie at
Please join in with your own views,
resources, suggestions, questions!
Just send a note,
and we'll share it here.
Reports on Presbytery Actions
See the MLP table of voting reports
More voting this weekend on Amendment 10-A
So far, no big changes
This comes from John Shuck, on his
Shuck and Jive blog, with the first results added by your
Thousands of Presbyterians will be discussing,
debating, and hopefully voting YES on Amendment A this weekend.
I have been scouting about places like this, this, and that and
have learned the names of the presbyteries who will be voting
Here are the ones that voted YES last time and
need to vote YES again:
|Tres Rios – Voted today, 35 to 32 in
favor of 10-A|
And those that voted NO last time and could
use a good flip:
|South Dakota – Voted today, 32 - 49
|Western Colorado – Voted today, 13 -
29 against, with the “Yes” votes losing a bit of ground
compared to two years ago.|
This will be a challenging weekend. A few of these NOs could
definitely flip and so an encouraging phone call would be most
Posted By John Shuck to
Shuck and Jive at 2/23/2011 10:50:00 PM
Amendment A By Bullet Point
Thanks to John Shuck, who has posted this neat
update on the voting, on his blog,
Shuck and Jive
A number of
presbyteries voted on Amendment A today. |
that none of them switched from their 2008 vote.|
Here is a handy
chart with a bit more detail.|
The score is
34 yes to 29 no.|
The amendment needs 87
affirmative votes to pass. Ties count as a no.|
53 more presbyteries need
to vote yes for "A" to pass.|
110 presbyteries yet to
Of those 110, 49 voted yes
We need 9 presbyteries who
voted 'no' or 'tie' in 2008 to flip to yes.|
We have had 6 flips so far.|
1 backward flip.|
That means 5 net flips so
We need 4 more "net flips".|
There are easily 15
presbyteries that can potentially flip for justice.|
There are even more
presbyteries that can go the other way too.|
We need to work hard in
We celebrate every YES!|
And take nothing for
are your bullet points for today. : )|
On Tuesday, Feb. 8, these votes were reported by Tricia
a presbytery that was an 08-B switch, held on strong at 19-9|
a consistently supportive presbytery, voted yes in a
by 66-46 after voting against 08-B|
by 99-72-3 after tying on 08-B.|
10-A voting on January 29, 2011
presbytery shifts to support inclusion and justice
Of the five presbyteries voting today on
Amendment 10-A, which would remove the strictures against
ordination of people in same-sex relationships, Riverside
Presbytery was the only one to switch from its 08-B outcome - a
very welcome 58-45-2 in favor of inclusive ordination.!
The other results:
Long Island continued its consistent support
on a voice vote.
Western North Carolina, the first presbytery
to switch to support in the Amendment 08-B round, registered
another strong yes at 145-99.
Sierra Blanca, while failing to approve 10-A,
19-28, reported a respectful process and some strong testimony.
Huntingdon came breathtakingly close, 32-33.
So the over-all vote of the presbyteries so
far is 20 in favor of the amendment, and 23 opposed. It’s
closer than two years ago, but much more work and study and
prayer will be needed to reach the change that we have sought
for so long!
Thanks to Tricia Dykers
Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer, for this quick
For more detailed vote counts, go to the
Covenant Network chart,
or the one being provided by
More Light Presbyterians.
For lots more good
information and news from MLP >>
... and from
Covenant Network >>
News flash: Latest
voting on Amendment 10-A
One more presbytery
shifts to support equality in ordination
This report (somewhat edited) comes
primarily from the
Rev. John Shuck, with additional information from Tricia
Dykers Koenig of Covenant Network.
A good day of
voting on Amendment 10-A, which would remove the effective
"don't ask don't tell" policy from the PC(USA). Eight
presbyteries voted – six yes and one no and one yet to report.
The story is
Eastern Virginia. This presbytery had voted against equality in
2008-9 and flipped for justice this time around. The other yeses
had been yeses last time and the one no had been a no. The one
we have yet to hear from was a strong no in 2008-9. So we had a
net gain of one presbytery.
Thank you and
very nice work in all the presbyteries, especially Eastern
Virginia 87-69 (shifting from a no vote in 2009)|
Cayuga-Syracuse (a voice vote, with perhaps just a couple no
Valley (vote count not yet known)|
score is 15 yes and 19 no with 87 being the magic number to make
a huge difference in ending discrimination in the Presbyterian
and see the
voting chart provided by MLP.
Presbytery voting on 10-A
In meetings on Tuesday, one presbytery switches
from No to Yes on LGBT ordination, and one goes the other way
Four presbyteries held their votes on
Amendment 10-A, to permit LGBT candidates to be considered for
The Presbytery of Eastern Oklahoma was the
first that had voted 'no' on ordination in 2008, to vote 'yes'
on 10-A. The vote was 55-53, following a recount when the first
reported tally totaled more votes than presbyters present. In
2008, the vote was 49-56, rejecting ordination.
In the presbyteries of Holston and Central
Florida, which both experienced lopsided votes against 08-B,
support increased significantly for 10-A. John Shuck has posted
a report on the
voting in Holston Presbytery.
But one presbytery shifted its vote from
supporting ordination in 2008, to rejecting it this year. Lake
Huron, which had voted in favor of 08-B, couldn't maintain that
support for 10-A. Tricia Dykers Koenig,
Covenant Network National
Organizer, adds these important suggestions (slightly condensed
We have never assumed that the
presbyteries that switched in favor of 08-B would stay that
way for 10-A, and today's roller-coaster is a dramatic
illustration of how important it is for us to take nothing
So, if your presbytery has yet to consider
10-A (that's most of us), please find out your vote date
now! I have a report on most of them, so
you can ask me,
and either learn it from me or learn that you need to call
the presbytery office and then report back to me.
Send a 'save the date' message to other
supporters in your presbytery now! Even if your presbytery
is voting in May or June, it's not too early to urge people
to clear their calendars.
Arrange a gathering of supporters to begin
talking about what will be most effective in getting out the
vote, and in making the pro-10-A case, in your context. For
most presbyteries, you'll want to schedule the meeting for
after the holidays, but you don't want to wait till then to
pick a date and send invitations.
Write letters to the editor of The
Outlook, blog entries, comments on our website, etc.
Contact your friends in other presbyteries
and talk to them about why 10-A is important to you and to
Reach out to those who disagree.
Continue to pray.
Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer
For vote tallies:
Total Presbytery votes so far, on 10-A:
Presbyteries that have yet to vote: 151
Two more presbyteries approve
10-A. Others, still rejecting it, do so by shrinking
Albany increased its traditionally strong
support for inclusiveness with a tally of 83-15-4, up from
78-25-2 on 08-B. Despite ample opportunity, there was no debate.
The Palisades (New Jersey) tallied
32-14, also a larger margin of approval than last time
(35-20-2), with minimal debate.
San Diego Presbytery was the leader in
sending an overture to the 2010 GA to reverse the gains of the
2008 GA. They also saw an increase in support, at 21-66 versus
The margin in Redstone (Western
Pennsylvania) was essentially unchanged: 38-68, compared to
But Cherokee (Northwest Georgia) saw an
astounding improvement: 49-62, as opposed to 24-79 for 08-B.
Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig,
Two more presbyteries reject Amendment 10-A
reports that on Wednesday, Nov. 10, two more presbyteries
refused to approve Amendment 10-A, which would remove the
explicit ban on ordination of people who are lesbian, gay,
bisexual or transgender. Santa Barbara Presbytery, arguably one
of the most conservative in the denomination, voted 25 for, 69
against. But two years ago their vote was 20 to 85 – so perhaps
there’s a little shift there. And Shenandoah Presbytery voted 93
to 106 against the change, with the margin a bit narrower than
two years ago, when it was 82 to 112.
Click here for the MLP listing of presbytery actions >>
Boston Presbytery approves Amendment 10-A
Presbyterians is maintaining
a table with the results of voting on 10-A in the
On November 1, the Presbytery of Boston became
the first to approve Amendment 10-1, by a vote of 53-30. Boston,
which sent the overture originating Amendment 08-B in 2008, had
approved that version by 54-42. [Thanks to Tricia
Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer, for this
So far three presbyteries (Alaska, voting 9
for, 20 against, and 2 abstentions; Mississippi, 11 for and 47
against; The Presbytery of the James, 152 to 152, with a tie
vote meaning the motion was defeated) have voted to reject the
amendment. This follows the pattern of recent years, in which a
number of conservative presbyteries have apparently chosen to
vote early, with the hope of setting an example for others.
For details on each vote, go to the
MLP table and click on the link for each presbytery
on Presbytery Actions
At least two presbyteries
have already voted on Amendment 10-A. If you want to follow the voting as it
proceeds over the next few months, these reports may be helpful.
These two reports come from the MLP vote tally:
The Presbytery of The James voted today on
Amendment 10-A and it was a tie, 152 to 152. A tie means that Amendment
10-A was not ratified by the Presbytery. The good news is that during
the Amendment 08-B campaign, the vote was 130-190.
On October 15, 2010 the Presbytery of Alaska failed
to ratify Amendment 10-A by a vote of 9 yes to 22 no with 2 abstentions.
The Alaska vote for Amendment 08-B in 2009 was 12 yes to 21 no.
More Light Presbyterians’ Amendment
10-A blog, maintained by Bruce Hahne, has a spreadsheet with
voting results, which will be updated regularly. Each entry (at least so
far!) includes a link to a more complete report from that presbytery.
Click here for the voting spreadsheet >>
far, this is the only place we have found that appears planned to carry
regularly updated voting reports.
We welcome your reports on presbytery voting -- not
just the numbers (though numbers matter) but any points of interest about
the debate, and so on.
Just send a note,
and we'll try to post it here.
Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
for Life" website
Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck,
a Presbyterian minister currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Click here for his blog posts.
Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores
the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens
neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City
Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon
board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!