CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE
3 Stories: One from the AP, one from More Light Presbyterians, and
one from the PCUSA News Service.
June 15, 2001
Presbyterians May Lift Gay Ban
By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. �� The chief policy-making body of the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) voted Friday to recommend lifting a ban on ordaining
homosexual clergy. <MORE>
Contact: Marco Grimaldo - (202)669-2153 or e-mail
June 15, 2001
PRESBYTERIAN GENERAL ASSEMBLY LIFTS BAN ON ORDINATION FOR LESBIAN,
GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRESBYTERIANS
LOUISVILLE, KY - More Light Presbyterians, That All May Freely
Serve, and The Shower of Stoles Project join together in giving
thanks to God for this action of the General Assembly that paves the
way for the ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Presbyterians. "The church has returned to its historic principles
allowing local churches and presbyteries to make decisions about
ordination. This is the middle ground the church needed to move
forward," said Elder, Bill Moss, More Light Presbyterians
Today's decision would change language in the Book of Order that
requires candidates for ministry to observe "fidelity in the covenant
of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness."
(G-6.0106b Book of Order). It would also do away with the definitive
guidance of the 1978 General Assembly that "practicing,
self-affirming homosexuals" are prohibited from serving as ordained
ministers, elders, or deacons.
"At last the church has taken a step toward justice for God's
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," said Rev. Janie
Spahr. "We are looking forward so much to being in the presbyteries
so people can see us for who we are as people of faith, to share our
faith, to share our stories together, so that all may freely serve."
Janie Spahr is an ordained minister whose call to serve the Downtown
United Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY was denied in 1992 by the
church's highest court, because she is a lesbian. The church hired
her instead as a "lesbian evangelist," and director of That All
May Freely Serve, an organization working to employ gay, lesbian,
bisexual, and transgender people in ministries of outreach and
education for a more inclusive church.
Martha Juillerat, Director of the Shower of Stoles Project, said that
this decision impacts more lives than the Assembly commissioners
imagine. The Shower of Stoles Project is a collection of over 800
stoles donated by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals
called to serve in ordained positions. About half of the stoles are
from Presbyterians. "The stoles bear powerful silent witness to the
host of impassioned, qualified, and faithful people knocking at the
church's door, or waiting silenced within the church for the day they
can serve openly," she said.
Today's decision must be ratified over the next year by a majority of
the denomination's local governing bodies known as presbyteries.
Together the groups look forward to the work ahead of making the
church a truly inclusive community, worshiping Christ, and living out
the gospel in the life of the church.
From PCUSA News Service
June 15, 2001
Presbyterians get time in the spotlight
'Gay Ordinations' brings cameras, microphones, laptops
by Frank Buhrman
LOUISVILLE: When the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) deliberated Wednesday over the somewhat contentious
issue of whether to allow peaceful demonstrations on the Assembly
floor, lots of cameras were on hand -- all providing the official
coverage arranged by the church.
Forty-eight hours later, as commissioners engaged in
impassioned debate over a proposed constitutional change that would
allow the ordination of homosexuals, there were yet more cameras, and
this time they reflected intense news media interest in the church's
Half a dozen television stations, a handful of radio stations
and a score of newspaper and other print media reporters covered all
or part of Friday's General Assembly session. Women and men who had
come to Louisville in relative anonymity suddenly spoke on the
ordination issue with multiple television cameras pointing at them.
Reporters from print and broadcast media checked the spelling of
their names for possible inclusion in a story.
The broadcasters on the other side of those cameras were
younger than the vast majority of the speakers, Youth Advisory
Delegates excepted. Print media representatives were younger on the
average, but perhaps not by as much.
The General Assembly and its issues lend themselves more to
print journalism, where coverage of something taking hours of a
writer's time is not uncommon, especially in specialized reporting.
Radio and television are another matter. The cameras keep moving,
covering neither the entirety of a fire nor of a meeting. For
television or radio, polity means a lot of down time.
The increased attention presents the challenge to assembly
organizers of allowing full coverage while maintaining order. Members
of the General Assembly Newsroom staff briefed reporters and camera
or video operators on where they were allowed to shoot and where they
could not. Reporters were told who was available to answer questions.
Two news conferences were scheduled, with representatives of those
for and against changing the ordination standards.
For many from the general-audience media, it was just another
assignment. A television reporter arrived on short notice, switched
to this story when another staff member had to leave early. She took
it in stride.
For Presbyterians, it was anything but something to be taken
in stride. As the rest of the world watched -- the Washington Post
called within minutes of the final vote, and the phones rang
frequently after that -- the church tried to determine its future
with more love than bleeding.
In the stories, that will be the most difficult "news" of all
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