by Scott Lumsden, EP
As we prepare to gather on May 17th, I want to take a moment to update you on the recent vote tally of proposed amendment 10-A. As has been reported both accurately (Minnesota Public Radio) and inaccurately (New York Times), having received enough presbytery votes to pass (87), G-6.0106b will read on July 10, 2011: “Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) 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 requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”
There are a variety of responses to this change within this presbytery, so I would encourage you to consider the wide range of emotional responses to this vote as you reflect on what this means for you and your church.
There are a number of resources at PC(USA) to aid you in interpreting this change, we will also make them available at the presbytery meeting.
In short, there are four notable changes: the high call for all who would serve in ordained office "to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life", the absence of the "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness" clause, the inclusion of ordination questions as a basis for examining fitness to office, and the requirement that ordaining bodies use Scripture and the confessions to inform the examination process.
What has not changed is the right of the ordaining body (session, presbytery) to determine its own leaders (ordained officers--deacons, elders, pastors) through this examination process.
God's peace to you this week,
Rev. Scott Lumsden
by Scott Lumsden, EP