Stroud case dismissed
|Synod of Mid-Atlantic will consider the
Stroud case [12-6-02]
Times reports that the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic has begun a
review of the decision of the Presbytery of Baltimore not to take action
against the Rev. Donald Stroud, who has been accused the attorney Paul
Jensen of violating provision G-6.0106b of the Book of Order.
The Rev. Barry Van Deventer, Synod executive, is
quoted as saying, "We felt that a special review was in order, but
not because we concluded they did anything wrong. ... This is a review
of the process, not a judicial review."
You may note that the story has a few little goofs.
That All May Freely Serve, for instance, has been renamed " That
All May Freely Service."
Presbytery provides evidence against charges by Paul R. Jensen
Recent reports on the case against the Rev. Donald
Stroud have included charges that Paul Jensen, the lawyer who first
filed complaints against Stroud, was not properly informed of his
opportunity to testify against Mr. Stroud.
The Presbytery took action on November 21, 2002, to
release a number of documents which indicate quite clearly that Mr.
Jensen was indeed invited to testify, that he received the letter of
invitation, but that he is now claiming not to have been properly
Presbytery judicial commission members recommend no charges be filed
against Donald Stroud
Two members of Baltimore Presbytery's Permanent
Judicial Commission designated to review an investigating committee's
report have concurred in an investigating committee's recommendation
that no disciplinary charges should be filed against Donald E. Stroud, a
gay Presbyterian minister who is on the staff of That All May Freely
Outlook provides a report.
Virginia attorney Paul Rolf Jensen, who filed the
complaint that initiated the case (along with many others), has declared
his outrage at the decision, saying "they have decided to use the
Constitution as toilet paper."
reports on that, too.
|Gay minister's case dismissed --
Complainant seeks review; accused restates defiance
by Alexa Smith, Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE -- June 30, 2002 -- Shortly after an
investigating committee in Baltimore Presbytery decided not to bring
charges against an openly gay minister, both parties in the dispute took
action to keep it alive.
Paul Jensen, the Washington, DC, lawyer who filed the
complaint, asked the presbytery court to review the committee's
The Rev. Don Stroud, the accused, announced publicly
that, as a matter of faith and conscience, he cannot comply with a
provision of the constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Stroud was accused last September of "willfully
and deliberately" violating his ordination vows and the
constitutional clause (G-6.0106.b) that says unmarried clergy may not be
sexually active. He also was charged with heresy. He is employed by That
All May Freely Serve (TAMFS), a group working to eliminate barriers to
the full participation of gays and lesbians in PC(USA) ministry.
The case against Stroud was among the first initiated
by Jensen, who has made similar allegations against 15 other
Presbyterians around the country who he says are openly defying the
PC(USA) constitution. Most of the cases were filed during Holy Week in
In the other case filed earlier, an investigating
committee in National Capitol Presbytery also decided against filing
Shortly after the Baltimore committee's decision
became public, Stroud -- who has waived his right of confidentiality --
issued a statement of refusal to comply with G-6.0106.b, which he said
violates the theological premise that it is by the "grace of Jesus
Christ alone" that lives are bound together in the church.
Jensen had no comment on his request for review.
An investigating committee's decision is subject to
review only on grounds of procedural irregularity.
The decision was made public in the stated clerk's
report to the Baltimore Presbytery during its June 27 meeting, according
to the Rev. Phil Sorensen, the presbytery executive.
Sorensen said there was no discussion of the
A presbytery is required to investigate any complaint
filed within its jurisdiction. The investigating committee decides
whether to file formal charges with the presbytery's permanent judicial
In his statement, Stroud said: "I cannot comply
with G-6.0106.b of the Book of Order because to do so, for me, can come
only at the price of denying my faith in God's grace in Jesus Christ. My
conscience will not allow me to do such a thing."
In a section labeled, "My Personal Reactions to
the Investigating Committee Report," he said that he is unwilling
to engage in "works righteousness (celibacy) to earn God's
"Is it an essential that I comply with an
aberrant section of church polity that forces me to rely on anything
except grace alone to be in full communion as a continuing member of
presbytery?" he asked, continuing, "… I cannot but believe
that the Presbytery of Baltimore in its own corporate conscience would
ultimately decide otherwise."
Stroud, a member of the presbytery for three years,
told the Presbyterian News Service that he is currently in a
The PJC has 90 days to respond to the request for a
For the full text of Stroud's statement, including his "Statement
of Faith and Conscience in Refusal To Comply with G-6.0106b,"
check out the report
from That All May Freely Serve.
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!