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More PCUSA News re. Vote to Lift Ban

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    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 15 5:20 PM

      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
      Visit: http://www.mlp.org

      June 15, 2001


      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
      to report.

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