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

Friday, May 13, 2011

Amendment A in Elizabethton Star

This was in Friday's Elizabethton Star:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Removes Barriers to Ordination of Gays, Lesbians

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has struck down a requirement that unmarried clergy remain celibate, removing a key barrier for gays and lesbians who want to be ordained.

The Presbytery of the Twin Cities provided they 87th vote this week. Presbyterians endorsed the new policy last year at their general assembly, but needed ratification from the majority of its 173 presbyteries, or regional districts.

Rev. John Shuck, Pastor the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, said, “This barrier has caused great pain for our church and in particular for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, their family members, and friends. We have lost many excellent ministers and officers because of our discriminatory policies. This change is a major step forward in accepting the diversity and gifts of all people.”

The change will go into effect July 10th, 2011. The denomination has been wrestling with the ordination question since the mid-'70s. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joins other mainline church bodies. The Episcopal Church, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and The United Church of Christ is open to LGBT people for ordination.

Michael Adee, Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians, an organization that advocates for LGBT people in the Presbyterian Church said of this decision: "More people will be able to live the truth of their lives, parents will talk more about having gay kids and people will come out in Presbyterian churches."

Differences over the Bible and homosexuality have divided mainline Protestant groups nationwide and around the world.

A small number of Presbyterian churches broke away from the denomination ahead of Tuesday's vote, but no major split is expected right away.

The Presbyterian Church is based in Louisville, Ky., and has about 2 million members.

The First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, is one of five More Light Churches in Tennessee and is open to full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the life of the congregation. The congregation is located at 119 West F Street in Elizabethton. Its webpage is www.fpcelizabethton.org.

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