From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Committee nixes moratorium, calls for prayer

Date 20 Jun 2002 09:03:43 -0400

Note #7277 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Committee nixes moratorium, calls for prayer

by Bill Lancaster

COLUMBUS, OH - The Church Orders and Ministry Committee of the 214th General Assembly declined to call for a moratorium on overtures concerning human sexuality and ordination standards, instead recommending a year of prayer.

By a 41-4 vote, the panel approved a motion calling the Presbyterian Church (USA) to prayer for a year, "with the focus of prayer to be on behalf of those with whom we disagree." It specified that the call for prayer is not meant to "prevent or be a substitute for other discussions, dialogue or actions."

The motion, made by the Rev. Rebekah Maul of the Presbytery of Tampa Bay and the Rev. Brian Janssen of the Presbytery of Prospect Hill, was put forward in response to overtures from Foothills (02-21), Northern New England (02-25), and St. Andrew (02-35). The Presbytery of Arkansas concurred with 02-25.

The committee debated, perfected and rejected a substitute motion that would have called for the moratorium.

During the debate, the committee's moderator, the Rev. Michel Lindvall of Detroit, told the members, "It is difficult to keep hating some one for whom I am regularly praying."

The Rev. David Steane, an overture advocate from Foothills Presbytery,  said the proposed moratorium would not be "a prohibition of discussion," but "a respectful dialogue that is free from the specter of a Book of Order legislative cloud." He said he thinks rancor in the church is one of the reasons for its loss of members.
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