Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Prayers for the Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly begins Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama, one of the birthplaces of the civil rights movement in the United States. Over the next week, the delegates will have the opportunity to either expand or contract sexual rights in their denomination.

Delegates will be discussing "The Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church." Yes, that says purity. The report recommends no change in the requirement (G-6.0106b) that only married, faithful heterosexuals or chaste singles can be ordained. They will also be debating three resolutions to overturn the PCUSA' support of women's rights to choose safe and legal abortion.

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians speak for many faithful Presbyterians in their belief that "God is calling faithful gay and lesbian Presbyterians to full inclusion in the life and leadership of the church, and the deletion of G-6.0106b." PARO, the pro-choice Presbyterian group, is working to assure the defeat of the anti-choice overtures.

We stand with those who are working for sexual justice within the PCUSA and pray for open hearts as these resolutions are debated. We hope in the words of the Covenant Network, that they will "join in an spirit of expectation, prayer, and receptiveness to what God will do through this 217th General Assembly...this is a time for hope in the church!"

PS Our June newsletter was published this morning. We are pleased to offer blog readers complimentary online subscriptions. Subscribe at the newsletter link on our website.

1 comment:

jsizoo said...

This bglog demonstrates a lack of understanding of Presbyterian process and history.

The term "Peace, unity and purity" (the name of the task force) comes from the long standing ordination question asked- "Do you promise to futher the peace, unity and purity of the church?" It's not referring to personal sexual purity.

Also, the task force recommendation that was important was that it recommended moving towards a more congregational stance (not really, but its clear that the finer points of polity aren't regarded with any seriousness here) - but ultimately, would permit congregations to ordain gay & lesbian folks as elders and deacons, and presbyteries to ordain gay and lesbian candidates for ordination if their evaluation of the rule (their "scrulples" to use the correct term) was that it was not essential to the faith.

You don't have to like the history or nit-pickiness, but you can at least acknowledge that you don't understand or won't deal with the finer points of what is going on here.

A lot of Presbyterians are working towards some movement, knowing that changing that rule isn't going to happen yet.