From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
CHURCH OFFICER LIFESTYLE AMENDMENT FAILS
05 May 1996 13:20:50
95230 CHURCH OFFICER LIFESTYLE AMENDMENT FAILS
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 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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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