From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 13:00:57


                  OFFICERS IS TOO CLOSE TO CALL 
                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--With fewer than 20 presbyteries still to vote, a proposed 
amendment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) "Book of Order" that would 
modify the requirement for how church officers should live their lives is 
too close to call. 
     According to the Office of the General Assembly, Amendment A.1 has 
received 73 affirmative votes, 78 negative votes and three "no action" 
votes.  Affirmative votes by 86 of the denomination's 171 presbyteries are 
required for the amendment to be incorporated into the church's 
     Addressing the lifestyle of church officers, the "Book of Order" 
currently states (G-6.0106): "Their manner of life should be a 
demonstration of the Christian gospel in the Church and in the world." 
     The proposed amendment would replace that wording with: "Their manner 
of life should be a demonstration to the Church and the world of the 
Christian faith and life as defined by Scripture and the Confessions." 
     The modest word changes represented a compromise by last year's 
General Assembly on an attempt to define more precisely what is acceptable 
sexual conduct for ordained church officers.  The proposed amendment passed 
by a 357-176 margin after coming to the floor of the Assembly as a minority 
report to the recommendation of the Assembly's Church Orders and Vocation 
     That committee had voted 31-26 to recommend to the Assembly that it 
adopt an overture from Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery that stated: "Those 
who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to 
Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the 
church.  These standards require fidelity within the covenant of marriage 
or celibacy.  Persons engaging in conduct that does not accord with these 
standards shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or 
ministers of the Word and Sacrament." 
     The Advisory Committee on the Constitution advised the Assembly not to 
adopt the Charleston-Atlantic overture because, it said, the "Book of 
Order" already "affirms the highest qualities of moral character."  The 
advisory committee said the overture is "inconsistent with the doctrine of 
sin contained in the Westminster Confession in that it singles out 
particular acts as being worse than others." 
      Record of voting on church officer lifestyle amendment 
AFFIRMATIVE (73): Abingdon, Arkansas, Beaver-Butler, Blackhawk, Central 
Florida, Central Nebraska, Charleston-Atlantic, Charlotte, Cherokee, 
Coastal Carolina, Donegal, East Tennessee, Eastminster, Flint River, 
Geneva, Giddings-Lovejoy, Greater Atlanta, Hanmi, Holston, Huntingdon, 
Inland Northwest, Lackawanna, Lake Erie, Lehigh, Los Ranchos, Memphis, 
Mississippi, Muskingum Valley, Nevada, New Covenant, New Harmony, North 
Alabama, North Central Iowa, North Puget Sound, Northeast Georgia, Northern 
Waters, Noroeste, Olympia, Palo Duro, Peace River, Peaks, Pines, Prospect 
Hill, Providence, Redstone, St. Andrew, St. Augustine, San Diego, San 
Fernando, San Francisco, San Gabriel, San Joaquin, San Juan, Santa Barbara, 
Savannah, Scioto Valley, Seattle, Shenango, Shenandoah, South Alabama, 
South Dakota, Southeastern Illinois, Southern New England, Suroeste, Tampa 
Bay, Transylvania, Tropical Florida, Wabash Valley, Washington, West 
Jersey, Western North Carolina, Whitewater Valley, Yukon. 
NEGATIVE (78): Alaska, Albany, Baltimore, Boise, Boston, Carlisle, 
Cascades, Cayuga-Syracuse, Chicago, Cimarron, Cincinnati, de Cristo, 
Denver, East Iowa, Eastern Oklahoma, Eastern Oregon, Elizabeth, Florida, 
Foothills, Genesee Valley, Glacier, Grace, Grand Canyon, Great Rivers, 
Heartland, Homestead, Indian Nations, James, John Calvin, Kendall, 
Kiskiminetas, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Long Island, Louisville, Mackinac, 
Maumee Valley, Miami, Middle Tennessee, Milwaukee, Minnesota Valleys, 
Mission, Missouri River Valley, Missouri Union, Monmouth, National Capital, 
New Brunswick, New Castle, New Hope, New York City, Newark, Newton, 
Northern Kansas, Northern New England, Northern New York, Northern Plains, 
Northumberland, Ohio Valley, Pacific, Palisades, Philadelphia, Redwoods, 
Salem, San Jose, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, South Louisiana, Southern Kansas, 
Tres Rios, Twin Cities Area, Utah, Utica, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, 
Western Reserve, Winnebago, Wyoming, Yellowstone. 
NO ACTION (3): Hudson River, Stockton, Susquehanna Valley. 
STILL TO VOTE (17): Central Washington, Dakota, Des Moines, Detroit, 
Eastern Virginia, John Knox, Midwest Hanmi, Pittsburgh, Plains and Peaks, 
Pueblo, Riverside, Sacramento, Sheppards and Lapsley, Trinity, Upper Ohio 
Valley, Western Colorado, Western New York. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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