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Belief Beat

Presbyterian Assembly Approves Gay Clergy, Not Gay Marriage

Presbyterian leaders voted to allow gay clergy, but not gay marriage, during the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly last week. But PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly reports that the measure now goes to the presbyteries, or local juriscdictions, which have previously rejected resolutions to ordain gays and lesbians.

The Associated Press reports:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is ranked the 10th-largest church in the U.S. with 2.8 million members, according to the National Council of Churches’ 2010 “Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.” The church’s media materials tout 2.1 million members.


Under current church policy, Presbyterians are eligible to become clergy, deacons or elders only if they are married or celibate. The new policy would strike references to sexuality altogether in favor of candidates committed to “joyful submission to worship of Christ.”

Several major Christian denominations have voted in recent years to allow non-celibate gays to serve as clergy if they are in committed relationships. Among them are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the U.S. Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ. Fewer major U.S. denominations have taken the step of fully endorsing gay marriage. Only two, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, have explicitly allowed it.


The General Assembly meets every two years; gay marriage supporters must wait until then to try again.

P.S. For what it’s worth, GetReligion found coverage of this gathering to be “B.O.R.I.N.G.”

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posted July 12, 2010 at 2:23 pm

What? How can this be? A denominational meeting for business and polity discussions is boring? Only be definition and purpose are denominational meetings “boring”. If they weren;t boring, everyone would want to go, clamor to go, manipulate or connive to go. This way they are kept managable and easy to endure.
Who else but a denominational gathering can make hundreds of people focused on sex boring.

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Robert I. Eachus

posted July 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

As a Presbyterian Elder involved to some extent in church polity, this is a misleading summary of what occurred. First, proposals approved by the General Assembly have to be approved by a majority of the Presbyteries. (That’s part of what it means to be Presbyterian.)
Second, the debate on ordination is not about who should be ordained. The arguments over the wording are about who can choose to ordain a minister (the Presbytery) or an Elder or Deacon (the local churches). The wide majority of opinion in PC(USA) is that the issue was settled a long time ago. (And a lot of people like me feel that the church leadership should stop trying to tinker with the wording, and go back to the wording of forty years ago, which worked just fine.
I, and most if not all Presbyterians believe in a personal relationship with God. If God tells you to repent and you don’t? That is a bar to ordination. That is the only issue here. Does God give different directions to different people? Sure, I could write a dozen, or a hundred sermons on cases where that happened in the Bible. Can the Presbytery or the Session decide that the voice you hear is not God? Happens on occasion, but trying to write a rule that applies to all cases is IMHO a foolish effort.
Maybe the right way to say it is that when a Presbytery or Session is considering whether to ordain someone, which matters least? God, the Bible, or the Book of Order? The Book of Order determines the agenda of a Session meeting, how minutes are kept, and whether certain motions require a second. But in Session meetings I have attended, the Bible gets a lot more attention when debating spiritual issues.
This latest wording will be considered by the Presbyteries. It may or may not get adopted. But it will have little, if any, effect on who is ordained.
Oh, in case you haven’t figured it out, when considering ordinations, I have paid attention to whether the candidate is living an exemplary life. I’ve never asked if a candidate was gay, or if they wen’t bar hopping on Saturday nights, or even if they are a Yankees fan.

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posted July 13, 2010 at 11:03 am

So, as it stands, gays can commence and bless weddings in PCUSA, but can’t get them themselves. Such a noble way remind them how second-class they are in the eyes of an all-loving God. Praise to those who stood up for LGBT clergy and shames on those who feel LGBT people are not worthy enough to be able to love as truly as others in PCUSA do.

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Joe Mustich, JP

posted July 13, 2010 at 7:18 pm

As justices of the peace, we perform non-religious civil marriage ceremonies all the time in CT, where we legalized civil unions in 2005 and marriage equality in 2008.
So kudos to CT and its citizens for supporting civil marriage. And lets not forget that marriage licenses are issued by and recorded in town halls, not church halls, mosques, temples etc….
Onward, Joe Mustich & Ken Cornet, Justices of the Peace,
Washington, Connecticut, USA.

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posted July 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm

What’s wrong with the Presbyterians and Episcopalians? Don’t they know that the more liberal a Church becomes, the more members it loses?. Most Christians want a Church that preserves core values.

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posted September 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Why do we even need to discuss the ordinance of gay clergy? The words gay and clergy dont even belong in the same sentence. God’s perfect helper for Adam was a woman, Eve. God didn’t see it fit to create a man to be Adam’s helper/partner. He created instead a woman, FEMALE. Does the Church not see this?

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Pingback: Presbyterians, U.S. Navy Tackle Gay Acceptance — Upsetting Some Christians - Belief Beat

Maury Kennerly

posted June 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm


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Mildred Maury Kennerly

posted June 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I am giving free e-books away to show exactly how God feels about all sex sins.

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Mildred Reese

posted July 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

A person who is acting out a behavior that God calls an abomination should not preach the Word, because itis evident they don’t know it

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mildred kennerly

posted December 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm

how on earth can there be religious clergy who are teaching lies. false clergy teach falsehoods. read crucifixion of the word, by maury kennerly, and you will hear the truth.

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maury kennerly

posted January 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm

which is worse. Gay clergy are stepping on God like a door mat. you are the ones (clergy) who should know you are like a dog who has returned to his vomit.

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