Presbyterian Lesbian Makes 3rd Attempt at Ordination

An openly gay woman in San Francisco is attempting for a third time to become ordained within the Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States.

Lisa Larges, a deacon at Noe Valley Ministry Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, has been blocked from ordination for more than 20 years and may get blocked again should the Synod of the Pacific's Permanent Judicial Commission rule that the San Francisco Presbytery was wrong in deciding that Larges could move forward in the ordination process.

On Jan. 15, the San Francisco Presbytery deemed Larges ready for examination by a narrow 167 to 151 vote despite the PC(USA)'s ban on clergy that do not practice "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness."

Under a controversial policy adopted by the PC(USA)'s 217th General Assembly in 2006, ordaining bodies were given greater leeway to ordain candidates who declare conscientious objections to specific Presbyterian teachings, as long as the ordaining body does not consider them "essentials" of church belief.

In her written objection, Larges stated that she would not concur with the church's requirement that she be married to a man or be chaste in order to become a minister.

She called the provision a "mar upon the church and a stumbling block to its mission" and said it did not express essentials of Presbyterian faith, according to the PC(USA)'s news service.

On Friday, Larges, who was blind from birth, appeared during a meeting in Oakland of the Synod of the Pacific's Permanent Judicial Commission to ask church officials to let her application proceed.

A ruling is expected Tuesday.

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