From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
EXASPERATED RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE
05 May 1996 13:05:02
95167 EXASPERATED RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE
CHARGES LAY COMMITTEE WITH "SUBVERSION"
by Jerry Van Marter
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Furious with the Presbyterian Lay Committee (PLC) over
what they term the "breaking a covenant with us," nine members of the
General Assembly's Committee on Reconciliation have drafted a report to
this year's Assembly charging that the Lay Committee "has chosen repeatedly
to subvert the process of reconciliation approved by the 206th General
After four meetings, the Reconciliation Committee--nine members
appointed by General Assembly moderator Robert W. Bohl and eight members
chosen by the PLC--reached uneasy agreement March 2. At that meeting the
PLC offered several self-imposed guidelines for its bi-monthly publication,
The Presbyterian Layman, that were quickly accepted by the moderator's
The PLC delegation also presented a paper, "Honoring the Boundaries of
Reformed Faith and Practice," that included numerous demands for changes in
General Assembly policies and practices. The paper was unanimously rejected
by the moderator's appointees as "wrong in its analysis and un-Presbyterian
in its recommendations." The moderator's appointees did, however, agree to
forward some of the paper's concerns to appropriate General Assembly bodies
"Honoring the Boundaries" calls for
* the taking of a loyalty oath to Presbyterian standards of ordination
by all national staff members, whether they are Presbyterian or not
* the dismantling of representation standards currently in the Book of
* withdrawal of most denominational support for the World and National
Councils of Churches
* "a public reexamination" of all designated gifts to the church--a
procedure already in place through annual external audits.
On Good Friday, PLC chair Warren Reding sent a letter to every clerk
of session in the Presbyterian Church and another letter to more than
30,000 PLC supporters asking them to put pressure on their sessions and
presbyteries to submit "Honoring the Boundaries" to the General Assembly as
an overture. Each letter included a copy of "Honoring the Boundaries" and a
request for contributions.
The PLC had previously tried unsuccessfully, through direct contact
with the Office of the General Assembly, to have "Honoring the Boundaries"
appended to the committee's report to the Assembly without the approval of
the moderator's appointees.
In a letter to clerks of session responding to Reding's, the
moderator's appointees wrote: "We ask you to reject this further attempt by
the Lay Committee to divide our church." Included with their letter was a
copy of their report to this year's General Assembly in which they call
upon the Assembly to urge that the Lay Committee 'cease and desist' its
destructive behavior, which harms our beloved church."
Reding's mass mailing, the moderator's appointees state, "has led us
to revise our original draft of this report and the conclusion that there
had been progress toward reconciliation with the PLC. From its actions both
during and after the meetings of the Special Committee the PLC appears not
to desire reconciliation with the PC(USA)."
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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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