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This biennial event begins a week from Saturday. There is hope among those who support GLBT rights that homophobic statements approved by earlier assemblies will be rescinded. Perhaps those of you who consider yourselves progressive Christians can offer prayers that this will happen.

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This biennial event begins a week from Saturday. There is hope among those who support GLBT rights that homophobic statements approved by earlier assemblies will be rescinded. Perhaps those of you who consider yourselves progressive Christians can offer prayers that this will happen.

 

Will do. My church is less than a block away from a Presbyterian church that is very homophobic.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Ordination ban is overturned, but action must be ratified. Some fear more churches will defect from the national organization.

 

By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

June 28, 2008

 

Leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) overturned a long-standing ban on the ordination of gays and lesbians Friday, providing yet the latest example of a religious denomination struggling with how, and whether, to incorporate homosexuality into church life.

 

At the same time, the church's national governing body, meeting in San Jose, refused to alter its definition of marriage, calling it a "covenant between a woman and a man." The actions by the General Assembly came the week after same-sex marriage became legal in California. They also follow the decision of a gathering of Methodists from Southern California and Hawaii, who went against their national church by voting to support same-sex couples who marry and the pastors who welcome them.

 

The Presbyterian Church is among many mainline Protestant denominations struggling to reconcile conflicting beliefs about biblical authority and the role of gays.

 

Some parishes have left the Episcopal Church, prompting predictions that the issue may tear the denomination apart. In the Presbyterian Church (USA) -- the nation's largest Presbyterian group, with 2.3 million members -- Friday's actions were likely to deepen theological fissures.

 

The General Assembly voted in favor of the ordination measure 54% to 46%, but its decision must still be approved by a majority of the nation's 173 regional presbyteries over the next year. Several prominent church leaders predicted it would fail.

 

Even so, gay rights advocates applauded the Presbyterians' decision to amend their constitution, saying the step would end discrimination that has long kept gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people from church service.

 

"I feel proud of my church today," said Lisa Larges, national coordinator for That All May Freely Serve, an organization that advocates for gay equality in the Presbyterian church.

 

Larges, who lives in San Francisco and attended seminary there, has fought unsuccessfully for more than two decades to become a Presbyterian minister.

 

"I think a generational shift is what we are witnessing," she said Friday. "There is a whole generation coming of age for whom acceptance is a given. The church is beginning to experience that sea change."

 

But opponents called the amendment a perilous act that defies Christian teaching and threatens to drive away members.

 

"Already, many of our strongest churches, including mine, are losing members who are disgusted with a political operation that is not Christ-oriented or Scripture-oriented," said the Rev. John Huffman of the 3,100-member St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach.

 

The measure approved Friday was sponsored by the Presbytery of Boston. It deletes language, approved by the General Assembly in 1996, that requires church elders, deacons and ministers to "live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness."

 

Those wishing to serve the church would instead pledge to "live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the head of the church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions."

 

The measure also voids previous church rulings that had prohibited the ordination of homosexuals, action that does not require approval of the regional bodies.

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-ordain28...story?track=rss

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Are there any recent updates on this? I'm not all that familiar with denominational issues in U.S. churches, but the church I belong to -- the United Church of Canada -- is Canada's largest mainline Protestant church. It formed in 1925 as a union among the Methodist Church (Canada), the Congregational Union of Canada, and a large number of Presbyterian churches. (There is still a separate Presbyterian Church in Canada). The United Church of Canada (which has the initials of UCC, which would be very confusing on this site, so I won't use the short form) has a range of thinking, one might realistically say, but the governing body has no problem with gay ordination. There are individual congregations that would refuse to hire a gay/lesbian minister, but most United Church ministers are inclusive (it's part of the church's ethos), and I venture to say that many United Church ministers would have no problem performing a marriage ceremony for a gay or lesbian couple. (Gay marriage is legal across Canada. So far, the sky hasn't fallen).

 

The United Church of Canada, which is very much a part of the Reformed Tradition, has been able to comfortably come to terms with homosexuality. I feel good about belonging to a church where all of God's children are welcome.

 

Jen

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The actions described in post #4 are a summary of GA's work, and it does not meet again for two years. The voting referred to by the Presbyteries typically takes about a year, so don't expect to hear anything soon on ordination. But the actions that reduce the denomination's discriminatory positions on LGBT folk are now in force, and those of us in the denomination who support LGBT rights are heartened by them.

Edited by grampawombat
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and those of us in the denomination who support LGBT rights are heartened by them.

 

As are those of us outside the denomination! The UCC works with your denomination around these issues. i'm excited to see another denomination (which is more well known than the UCC) working to end discrimination against a whole group of people. I believe it will start a trend toward recognition of the LGBT rights.

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