Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Praise for the Presbyterians!
The Presbyterians, like the Episcopalians and the Lutherans, have been wrestling, praying and voting on the future inclusion of LGBT people in the pulpits of their church for three decades or more. But tonight, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities in Minnesota gave the necessary approval to the change in the church's constitution to open the door to ordination of LGBT people.
The new language in the constitution says:
“Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life. The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all the requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation. Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”
Gone is the requirement for "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman." They've also ended the requirement of "chastity" for a single person.
Also interesting in this vote are the Presbyteries that changed their original opposition to this amendment. Among those coming to see the light: Florida, South and North Alabama, Middle Tennessee and South Louisiana. The switch in position could be a reflection of a change in the hearts and minds of those voting members as they come to know more LGBT people. It could also be that most of the opponents have already left the Presbyterian Church USA.
Rev. Janet Edwards, Co-Moderator of the LGBT rights group More Light Presbyterians, calls the adoption of Amendment 10-A noted how long the struggle has been for the Church.
"I am so grateful for the sacrificial effort of so many people over these years to bring this deeply Reformed correction to an error made by the Church. Both during these months as the presbyteries have voted and for the last 37 years, you have courageously and steadfastly given of yourselves in a host of ways to bring our Church to this moment. Every bit of your energy, intelligence, imagination and love was needed to come to this new day. I am grateful to God for the privilege of being part of this witnessing community."
Congratulations! And may God's love expand and touch even those who tonight are disappointed with the outcome.