From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Kirkpatrick outlines "Top 10" issues on tap for 213th General

Date 27 Feb 2001 11:25:45

Note #6406 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Kirkpatrick outlines "Top 10" issues on tap for 213th General Assembly 

Election of moderator, issues of sexuality top the list

by Bill Lancaster

LOUISVILLE -- The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, the stated clerk of the
Presbyterian Church (USA), outlined his preliminary "Top 10" list of issues
coming before the 213th General Assembly (GA) when it convenes in Louisville
in June.

Heading Kirkpatrick's list, which he unveiled during a meeting of the
General Assembly Council (GAC) on Feb. 24, was the election of a moderator
to preside over the Assembly and represent the PC(USA) over the next 12
months. So far there are four candidates: Elder Nancy Maffett, from Pueblo
Presbytery; Elder Sandra Hawley, from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities
Area; the Rev. Jack Rogers, from San Gabriel Presbytery; and the Rev. Andy
Sale, executive presbyter of Peaks Presbytery.

The next three issues listed by Kirkpatrick had to do with ordination and
human sexuality. "We will have a very large number, perhaps the largest we
have ever had, of overtures in various ways related to that matter," he

"We have a large number of overtures calling essentially for the repeal of
G-6.0106b (of the Book of Order), the so-called Amendment B (outlining
fidelity and chastity requirements for church officers), or a major
modification of it," he said.

"We have several overtures ... (about) provisions for a waiver for
congregations that feel they are not able to ordain women, (and for)
congregations or presbyteries that feel their conscience is not able to
follow G-6.0106b.

"A third series of overtures," Kirkpatrick went on, "relate to what some
have referred to as a 'third way' -- various proposals for special
commissions to seek to work for the unity and peace and spiritual welfare of
the church, and see if there may be some 'third way,' if possible, to both
affirm theological truth and to deal with our differences."

The fifth issue Kirkpatrick predicted would be taken up by the GA is the
Lordship of Jesus Christ, particularly in relation to people of other

A sixth issue, he said, is a proposed revision of Chapter 14 of the Book of
Order, which specifies how a local church goes about calling an associate
minister or a temporary-supply pastor. The revision would shorten the
chapter by one-third and give congregations and presbyteries greater
flexibility, he said.

"One of the most fascinating things I've been engaged with has been the
efforts we have taken to reach out to our friends in the Vatican," he said,
referring to No. 7 on his list. "How do we understand their tradition, as it
focuses on a successor to Peter, and ours on a successor to the Council of
Jerusalem? And how can we move forward in expressing one faith in common
Christian community with Roman Catholics? I believe you will see some
important proposals at this Assembly on that."

No. 8 was a report on domestic violence to be presented by the Advisory
Committee on Social Witness Policy. "I think there will be a major call for
our church to take that seriously and carry it out," Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick issue No. 9 was an expected "focus at this Assembly, in a more
concentrated way than usual, on our ministries of higher education." He said
there is "a hunger in our church on how we reach out to college-age young
people in our ministry."

Finally, he said, "there are a number of concerns coming to this Assembly
that we continue to be in the forefront of seeking global justice." He said
this includes global concerns, such as the world AIDS epidemic and
small-arms proliferation, as well as work for peace and stability in such
"hotspots" as the Middle East and Congo.

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