Nearly 2,000 conservative members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) began discussing on Thursday how to move forward after a decision in May to allow ordination rights to openly gay and lesbian clergy has some leaders looking to start another denomination.
PC(USA) officials at the two-day conference in Minneapolis ending Friday are leading table discussions about the options churches opposed to the decision might have. The ratifying amendment to the church’s rules on homosexuality and chastity went into effect in July.
"The PC(USA) decision to abandon Christian sexual ethics predictably is fueling accelerated membership decline and schism," said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD), in a statement Wednesday. "Some traditionalists are struggling to stay within the PC(USA) while creating new forms of accountability to compensate for the denomination's failure." more >>
Three months after allowing the ordination of openly gay clergy, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seems headed for a split as nearly 2,000 conservative Presbyterians are gathering in Minneapolis on Thursday and Friday with creation of a “new Reformed body” as an agenda.
Making preparations for the conference is the Rev. Paul Detterman, executive director of Presbyterians for Renewal, an independent organization based in Louisville, Ky., where the denomination’s headquarters are.
Detterman, administrative consultant for the new Fellowship of Presbyterians, the organizer, recently wrote in a communication to fellow conservatives that initially only a few hundred people were interested in new ways of “being church,” but the change in the ordination standards increased the number of registrations to over 1,900. more >>
The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. has officially cleared the way for openly gay men and women in same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy.
The new policy goes into effect today after the church's assembly and 97 of the denomination's 173 presbyteries approved the change within the church’s constitution. The move represents a major change in the history of the 2.8 million-member Presbyterian denomination.
“The new policy for the Presbyterian Church becomes official on Sunday and a number of churches will mark the moment with prayer and rejoicing in their Sunday services,” according to a press release from the members of the More Light Presbyterians. more >>
A group of conservative Presbyterians has put out advertisements in major news publications asking congregations to reconsider their relationship with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The ad by the Presbyterian Lay Committee directs readers to a petition where they can declare their stance against the PC(USA)'s liberal direction.
"I grieve over the apparent departure of the Presbyterian Church (USA) from these Scriptural truths, and I am estranged from its policies and programs that do not affirm Christ alone, Scripture alone and the holy institution of marriage alone as the divinely ordained context for human sexual activity," part of the petition reads. more >>
An Edmond, Okla., church voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to cut ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over the denomination's liberal direction.
In a 110-5 vote, Peace Lutheran Church agreed to leave the ELCA – the largest Lutheran denomination in the country with around 4.5 million members. This was the second and final approval needed to leave. The congregation also determined in a separate vote to affiliate with the newly formed conservative body, the North American Lutheran Church.
Peace Lutheran joins hundreds of other congregations in withdrawing from the ELCA following the body's vote in 2009 to let non-celibate gays and lesbians serve as clergy. more >>
Yet another denomination has voted to ordain openly homosexual candidates to its ministry. On Tuesday, the Presbyterian Church (USA) presbytery of the Twin Cities in Minnesota voted to approve a change to the church’s constitution that will allow the denomination’s 173 presbyteries to ordain persons without regard to sexual orientation.
The Twin Cities presbytery cast the deciding vote in what is now a 33-year effort to remove all restrictions on homosexuals serving in the church’s ordained ministry. It became the 87th presbytery to affirm the action of the church’s 219th assembly last summer authorizing the constitutional change. The action not only concludes over three decades of controversy over the ordination standards; it also reverses actions taken in 1997, 2001, and 2008, when similar efforts failed.
In 1996, the denomination restated its ordination requirements to include “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.” That policy had also required that candidates “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.” more >>