From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 13:18:51


                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--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 has been defeated. 
     The fate of the amendment was sealed June 2 when Plains and Peaks 
Presbytery voted "no."  On June 27, Sacramento Presbytery also turned down 
the amendment.   
     The tally on the amendment thus stands at 82 in favor and 84 opposed, 
with three presbyteries having voted to take "no action."  Two presbyteries 
(Dakota and Midwest Hanmi) are still to vote, but with 86 affirmative votes 
needed to pass the amendment, approval is not possible. 
     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 defeated amendment would have replaced 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 proposed wording 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 was 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." 
          Voting on Church Officers Lifestyle Amendment 
Affirmative (82): Abingdon, Arkansas, Beaver-Butler, Blackhawk, Central 
Florida, Central Nebraska, Central Washington, Charleston-Atlantic, 
Charlotte, Cherokee, Coastal Carolina, Donegal, East Tennessee, 
Eastminster, Flint River, Geneva, Giddings-Lovejoy, Glacier, 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, Pittsburgh, Prospect Hill, Providence, Pueblo, 
Redstone, Riverside, St. Andrew, St.  Augustine, San Diego, San Fernando, 
San Francisco, San Gabriel, San Joaquin, San Juan, Santa Barbara, Savannah, 
Scioto Valley, Seattle, Shenango, Sheppards and Lapsley, Shenandoah, South 
Alabama, South Dakota, Southeastern Illinois, Southern New England, 
Suroeste, Tampa Bay, Transylvania, Trinity, Tropical Florida, Upper Ohio 
Valley, Wabash Valley, Washington, West Jersey, Western Colorado, Western 
North Carolina, Whitewater Valley, Yukon. 
Negative (84): Alaska, Albany, Baltimore, Boise, Boston, Carlisle, 
Cascades, Cayuga-Syracuse, Chicago, Cimarron, Cincinnati, de Cristo, 
Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, East Iowa, Eastern Oklahoma, Eastern Oregon, 
Eastern Virginia, Elizabeth, Florida, Foothills, Genesee Valley, Grace, 
Grand Canyon, Great Rivers, Heartland, Homestead, Indian Nations, James, 
John Calvin, John Knox, 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, Plains and Peaks, Redwoods, Sacramento, Salem, San Jose, 
Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, South Louisiana, Southern Kansas, Tres Rios, Twin 
Cities Area, Utah, Utica, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Western New 
York, Western Reserve, Winnebago, Wyoming, Yellowstone.  
No Action (3): Hudson River, Stockton, Susquehanna Valley 
Still to vote (2): Dakota, Midwest Hanmi 

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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