Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Presbyterian Equality News

**UPDATE**

I missed more action from committee twelve. Thanks to Pastor Bob and his eagle eye for equality for pointing out that the committee
does recommend a change in the definition of marriage for the Book of Order. By a vote of 34-18-2 the committee sent the following to plenary:
“W-4.9001

“Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage is a civil contract covenant between a woman and a man two people (“the couple”) and according to the laws of the state also constitutes a civil contract. For Christians marriage is a covenant through which a man and a woman the couple are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship. In a service of Christian marriage a lifelong commitment is made by a woman and a man to each other the couple, publicly witnessed and acknowledged by the community of faith.

“W-4.9002

“a. In preparation for the marriage service, the minister shall provide for a discussion with the man and the woman the couple concerning

[The rest of W-4.9002–.9003 remains the same.]
“W-4.9004

“The service begins with the scriptural sentences and a brief statement of purpose. The man and the woman couple shall declare their intention to enter into Christian marriage and shall exchange vows of love and faithfulness. The service includes appropriate passages of Scripture, which may be interpreted in various forms of proclamation. Prayers shall be offered for the couple, for the communities which support them in this new dimension of discipleship, and for all who seek to live in faithfulness. In the name of the triune God the minister shall declare publicly that the woman and the man couple are now joined in marriage.

[The rest of W-4.9004–.9005 remains the same.]
“W-4.9006

“A service of worship recognizing a civil marriage or civil union and confirming it in the community of faith may be appropriate when requested by the couple. The service will be similar to the marriage service except that the opening statement, the declaration of intention, the exchange of vows by the husband and wife couple , and the public declaration by the minister reflect the fact that the woman and man couple are already married to one another united according to the laws of the state.”

***

Here is news on the equality front.

Committees met and fought it out (with love of course) regarding whether or not gay folks should get as many goodies as non-gay folks. Here is what happened:

Regarding marriage, committee 12 passed the following resolution by a vote of
38-16-0:
“Ministers of Word and Sacrament and commissioned lay pastors authorized to conduct services of Christian marriage may exercise pastoral discretion when asked to officiate at ceremonies for couples who have obtained a civil marriage license, and sessions may permit the use of church property for such services. Ministers of Word and Sacrament and commissioned lay pastors may refuse to conduct such services, and sessions may refuse to permit the use of church property for such purposes.”
It doesn't change marriage from "a man and woman" to "two people," but it allows for ministers and congregations to do the religious hocus pocus for same-sex couples in states where they can get a marriage license, at least I understand it.

Regarding ordination, committee six passed the resolution from Western Reserve by a vote of 36-16-1. The current text of G-6.0106b will get replaced with the following:

Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.
Both resolutions passed with a 2-1 margin. Looks good. Thanks to all the Twitterbugs for providing the play by play. You know who you are! : )
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