From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 13:05:02


                       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 
without endorsement. 
     "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   Web page: 


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