A legislation that opens the door to transgender ordination passed its final hurdle on Monday and was approved by leaders in The Episcopal Church. The measure passed both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.
The Episcopal General Convention voted to amend church laws to state: "No one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age."
"This proposed revision is based upon our increased understanding and practice to respect the human dignity of transgender people – transsexuals, and others who differ from majority societal gender norms," an explanation for the legislation states. "Gender identity (one's inner sense of being male or female) and expression (the way in which one manifests that gender identity in the world) should not be bases for exclusion, in and of themselves, from consideration for participation in the ministries of the Church." more >>
The highest legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) rejected on Friday an attempt to reverse its ordination standards to once again ban partnered gay clergy.
The proposed measure would have reinstated a requirement that clergy live "a chaste and disciplined life, whether in holy marriage between a man and a woman or in single life."
It's been one year since the PC(USA) officially lifted the ban on openly gay clergy. Dozens of congregations have left the denomination since then, citing the liberal direction of the church body. more >>
Amid budget cuts, staff layoffs and losses in membership, a legislative house of The Episcopal Church voted Friday to sell the denomination's headquarters in New York. Church leaders will also vote on a resolution calling for pastors to bless same-sex unions.
The House of Deputies passed a resolution directing the Executive Council to sell the Episcopal Church Center at 815 Second Avenue in New York, where most of the church's administrative staff offices are located, Episcopal News Service reported.
The resolution, passed during a weeklong convention which started Thursday in Indianapolis, Ind., explains that the church will need to spend more than $11 million to operate the building over the next three years. more >>
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to keep its current definition of marriage "between a woman and a man" by narrowly defeating a proposal to change the wording to "between two people" at its 220th General Assembly Friday evening.
The proposal by same-sex marriage proponents would have also changed the definition of marriage from being a "civil contract" to a "covenant" that "according to the laws of the state also constitutes a civil contract."
Nearly four hours of debate preceded the 338-308 vote. While in prayer after the vote, General Assembly Moderator Neal Presa said, "Some of us weep while some of us rejoice. We are a divided church." more >>
The 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) narrowly passed a resolution on Thursday against using corporal punishment on children.
"Most people know the difference between discipline and abuse. I would like us to trust parents that most of them can responsibly [use] corporal punishment," said the Rev. James Emig of the Denver Presbytery, according to a PC(USA) blog.
Many Christians believe corporal punishment is a biblical practice. Proverbs 13:24 says, "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them." Still, other Christians believe children can be effectively disciplined in a non-physical way. more >>
Days after being elected as vice moderator of the General Assembly – the second highest elected position in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – the Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe resigned on Wednesday after realizing that her recent participation in a same-sex marriage was going to be disruptive.
"The amount of conversation in person and comments online indicate that my confirmation has obviously touched a nerve," she said in a speech to the Assembly. "The tension over all of this is real, and clearly the energy and passion about this issue runs deep – and isn't going away."
McCabe, who served as associate pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., pointed out that people had posted blogs, tweets and comments that were "unhelpful" and "divisive" since she was elected by a 55 to 44 percent vote on Sunday. more >>