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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.
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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