MLP News - April 25, 2009
....working for the full inclusion of LGBT people of faith
in the life, ministry, and witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
April 25, 2009Historic Shift Toward LGBT Equality as Presbyterian Church (USA) fails to ratify Amendment 08-BAnswering God's Call to Serve!For immediate releaseMedia Contacts:Rev. Janet Edwards, Co-Moderator, (412) 302-3827, jmea08@...Vikki Dearing, Co-Moderator, (405) 203-2929, dearbunt@...Michael Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer, (505) 577-0086, michaeladee@...Historic Shift Toward LGBT Equality as Presbyterian Church (USA) fails to ratify Amendment 08-BApril 25, 2009. In a historic shift, a record number of Presbyterians have voted to remove the barriers of marital status and sexual orientation for otherwise qualified candidates to serve as ministers, elders and deacons, but fell short of the simple majority of the 87 presbyteries out of 173 needed to ratify Amendment 08-B.
This national vote continues until May 19, but the ratification decision became clear today as the "no" votes from presbyteries reached the majority number of 87.
More Light Presbyterians laments this loss of the 218th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 08-B that would have restored ordination standards based upon faith and character, not marital status and sexuality. Amendment 08-B reflects a Reformed understanding of ordination and put into perspective church membership and service by making faith in Jesus Christ central in ministry. Amendment 08-B gave our Church a faithful way to reconcile one's faith and sexuality.
"More Light Presbyterians offer our deep gratitude for the thousands of Presbyterians who want the Presbyterian Church (USA) to be a Church for all of God's people. So far, 48.6% of all votes cast supported a church that embraces and recognizes God's image in every person," said Michael Adee, Executive Director and Field Organizer.
In what has been a much closer situation than in 2002, 2 oppositional votes today meant defeat for the national ratification of 08-B. However, the good news is that 69 presbyteries have voted in favor with 14 presbyteries yet to vote. The final tally of support for policy change in 2002 was 42. It is important to recognize that 110 presbyteries out of the 155 presbyteries that have voted thus far demonstrate pro-LGBT equality shifts.
Remarkable experiences of this national campaign include the 28 transformations in presbyteries that opposed ordination change in 2002 and now support ordination equality in 2009. Some of those transformations in presbyteries came in unexpected places and traditionally conservative areas such as: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
The trends are clear: the Presbyterian Church (USA) is remarkably close to removing the barriers so that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people can faithfully answer God's call to serve. The witness of this ratification process across the country indicates without a doubt that a growing number of Presbyterians believe that LGBT persons and their families should have the same opportunities and responsibilities of full participation, membership and ordained service in our Church offered to their heterosexual sisters and brothers.
We pledge to continue the work of education, dialogue and outreach until every presbytery has had the opportunity to make its decision on Amendment 08-B.
Of this moment, Rev. Janet Edwards, Co-Moderator said: “I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit is inspiring conversation about the meaning of ministry — the gift of God’s call to those who are faithful to Jesus’ teaching and example. And with more presbyteries than ever acknowledging that our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters in Christ can also receive God’s call to ministry, I feel that the tide is truly turning. Jesus said, ‘When I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself’ (John 12:32). The day when the Church shows Jesus’ kind of true love and embrace is coming closer and closer.”
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