From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Assembly approves season of prayer rather than

Date 21 Jun 2002 21:03:08 -0400

Note #7324 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Assembly approves season of prayer rather than moratorium
June 21, 2002

Assembly approves season of prayer rather than moratorium

Discussions centered on human sexuality and ordination standards

by Bill Lancaster

COLUMBUS, OH - The 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Friday approved a year of prayer rather than a moratorium on overtures concerning human sexuality and ordination standards.

	The wording of the action calls for a year "with the focus of prayer to be on behalf of and with those with whom we disagree. This call for prayer would not seek to prevent or be a substitute for other discussions, dialogue or actions."

	The action was in answer to Overtures 02-21 from Foothills, 02-25 from Northern New England and 02-35 from St. Andrew.  The Presbytery of Arkansas concurred with 02-25.

	The Assembly approved the recommendations of the Church Orders and Ministry Committee moderated by Michael Lindvall, minister commissioner of the Presbytery of Detroit. The Assembly rejected two other possible actions, a period of grace during which the Assembly would have "implored all" to refrain from bringing judicial or legislative action, and a five-year moratorium on legislative actions.

	Lindvall, in presenting the recommendation, said, "Noting that one Assembly cannot bind the actions of another, and noting also that no Assembly has authority over judicial process, we would answer all overtures with one item," the year of prayer.

	Rebekah Mull, a minister commissioner from Tampa Bay Presbytery, who described herself as a "raging moderate," said, "Prayer is such a powerful tool. One commissioner told me, 'Prayer is not enough.' Well, I think maybe we aren't praying in the right way, and that through a request of our denomination to be disciplined in prayer for a year, that we just might be able to admit along with the disciples of Jesus, that we may not know how to pray. The least we can do is ask Him in our divisions, 'Lord teach us to pray.'"

	After the Assembly had approved the year of prayer, Steven VanKuiken, minister commissioner from Cincinnati Presbytery, spoke strongly in favor of also approving a period of grace from judicial and legislative action. "Please let us send a message of grace," he said. "I find the call to prayer to be fine but woefully inadequate."
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