Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Press Release: Presbyterians Move Toward LGBT Equality

Coalition Media Contacts:  

Michael Adee, More Light Presbyterians (505) 577-0086
Pam Byers, Covenant Network of Presbyterians (415) 310-0371
Lisa Larges, That All May Freely Serve (585) 615-0613
Mieke Vandersall, Presbyterian Welcome (917) 776-0292

July 7, 2010 — Presbyterian commissioners to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) set a trend for more inclusion as they worked in committees on the first two full days of a full week of meetings, in Minneapolis that will close on July 10.

Although the legislation has not reached the full body for a final vote, the committees approved recommendations by significant margins that:
  • Give pastors discretion to celebrate legal weddings and civil union ceremonies;
  • Change the definition of marriage to apply to “two persons” instead of “a man and a woman”;
  • Establish one set of standards for ordination rather than having a separate standard for gay and lesbian candidates for ministry.
“We know that the church is living into a future that allows Presbyterians to follow their God-led consciences as they consider each person for ministry,” said the Rev. Tricia Dykers Koenig, National Organizer of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians.

Lisa Larges, head of That All May Freely Serve, said, “Faith traditions are moving toward a new understanding of God’s diverse creation.  The time for policies based on our love of God and call to serve has come.”

Two years ago, the PC(USA) voted for ordination equality and subsequently came closer than ever to ratifying it in regional Presbyteries across the country.  Traditionally conservative areas like Alabama, Texas, North Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Montana voted in favor of the amendment.   Some of the actions sent to the full General Assembly would also require ratification by a majority of presbyteries.

“There is a growing consensus among Presbyterians that we have spent enough time trying to keep people out of the church and it is time to celebrate our progress and our common baptism,” said Mieke Vandersall, head of Presbyterian Welcome.

Michael Adee, Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians, said "There is a spirit of grace at this General Assembly.  The church knows that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender daughters and sons are not outside trying to get in.  We are baptized and nurtured members of the church—and Presbyterian ministers should have the privilege of blessing our unions and supporting our families.”

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