Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Removes Barriers to Ordination
The Presbytery of the Twin Cities became the 87th presbytery and thus cast the deciding vote to ratify an amendment that will remove the so-called “fidelity and chastity” clause in the PC(USA) constitution and open to door to ordination for those who have been excluded by this sentence in the ordination standards:
Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness.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 1970s. 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, as 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."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.
If you would like more information about this historic milestone, contact Rev. John Shuck at 543-7737 or johnashuck [at] embarqmail.com. He would be happy to do an interview. You can also contact Michael Adee of More Light Presbyterians at (505) 820-7082 or e-mail michael [at] mlp.org