Presbyterians vote to ordain gays as ministers, elders and deacons

Presbyterians vote to ordain gays as ministers, elders and deacons May 11, 2011

Details from the New York Times:

The outcome is a reversal from only two years ago, when a majority of the church’s regions, known as presbyteries, voted against ordaining openly gay candidates.

This time, 19 of the church’s 173 presbyteries switched their votes from no to yes in recent months. The Twin Cities presbytery, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul, cast the deciding vote at its meeting on Tuesday. The vote was 205 to 56, with 3 abstentions.

Cynthia Bolbach, moderator of the church’s General Assembly, its highest legislative body, said in a phone interview from Minneapolis after the vote: “Everyone was civil. There was no applause, no cheering. It was just reflective of the fact that we are moving forward one other step.”

Although by the time the vote was taken in Minneapolis the outcome was expected, Presbyterian church officials said that even a few months ago they would not have predicted that the church was ready to change its policy.

“All of us are surprised,” said the Rev. Gradye Parsons, the church’s stated clerk, its highest elected official. He attributed the turnabout in the votes to both the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the larger culture, and to church members simply wearying of the conflict.

“We’ve been having this conversation for 33 years, and some people are ready to get to the other side of this decision,” he said. “Some people are going to celebrate this day because they’ve worked for it for a long time, and some people will mourn this day because they think it’s a totally different understanding of Scripture than they have.”

“I hope that going forward we can stay together and be faithful witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) now joins a growing bloc of historic, mainline Protestant churches that have voted to accept gay clergy members and church leaders — a bloc that includes the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church. (The largest mainline Protestant denomination, the United Methodist Church, is still fighting over the issue).

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has about two million members. The Presbyterian Church in America, a much smaller and more conservative denomination, prohibits the ordination of women and openly gay candidates.

Read the rest.

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28 responses to “Presbyterians vote to ordain gays as ministers, elders and deacons”

  1. Mainline Protestant Churches are almost done with their own obliteration from any relevance. They are moving forward indeed, to the precipice.

  2. And so will add to another group of interesting Chruch Property cases as some try to leave that is now going on all over the Nation

  3. sad sad sad… but I really hope this leads the disciples of Christ in the Presbyterian Church to the Catholic Church. And I really hope this leads to an openess of our church to more ordinariates and even a rite. Unity, but not uniformity.

  4. Excellent for the Presbyterians (USA). 33 years to get the vote but finally achieved. Equality is what it is called.

  5. While I understand the pleas for unity after developments like these, the example of the Episcopal church shows how impossible it is. The positions aren’t reconcilable, logically or spiritually. Those who lost the vote better be prepared for exile.

  6. And, just like that, another “SPACE FOR LEASE” sign goes up at the Headquarters in Louisville.

  7. And I thought Protestants relied on sola scriptura. I agree with those that said mainline protestantism is dead. They make it up as they go.

  8. RomCath: So equality is wrong? The move is most positive, IMO, and yes, the Presbyterians are actually a Church—just not your version. WWJD? IMO, rejoice.

  9. pagansister — “[E]quality” can be right or wrong, depending on what things are treated as equal in what respects.

  10. Another denomination sliding down the slippery slope, trying to appease the wants and desires of selfish and misguided members. This will no doubt result in the denomination’s own self destruction as many conservative members split off to try and maintain an identity.

    All of this adding to the already 10’s of 1,000’s of Protestant denominations already claiming to preach the one true Gospel. Sad.

  11. Oh the hypocrisy! Roman Catholic seminaries, as traditionalist Catholics have blogged about for decades, were “pink palaces”. Heterosexual candidates for the priesthood were made to feel out of place and in some instances not admitted in the first place.
    Do you think all those gay priests from the 70’s and 80’s, (90’s and later in some dioceses) have all been lifted away in an alien spaceship? No, they are living lives of secrecy and deception. In some instances they are sexually active albeit “on the down low”. Is that healthy for any human soul?

  12. Homosexuals can be Christians and Catholics. They are welcome. The only requirement is that they repent and that they live a life of obedience in chastity. Now, if you want to have it your way and transform the Church to your own image, then, yes, there is a problem.

  13. As a Member of one of the mainline denominations mentioned in the NYT article quoted by Deacon Kandra, I would say to RomCath, Rudy, naturgezest et al., remember what our Blessed Lord said. Do not seek out the mote in your neighbor’s eye when you have a splinter in your own. Judge not lest ye be judged.

    At this time we see from the headlines an RC bishop with child porn going to prison, another who molests not one but two nephews without deep shame expressed, another who publicly congratulates a fellow bishop on refusing to notify the police when molestation of a child by a priest came to his attention and on and on. Then we have the Vatican friendly Italian govt. claiming the Vatican Bank is money laundering. I could go on but you get the point.
    Please address the scandal that is your church before lecturing us on our alleged immorality, OK?

  14. Pagan, do you believe in Jesus? How could you even speculate what he would do? I think he would vomit.

  15. Jack B Nimble, everything you accuse the RC of is true unfortunately. Those are the evil acts of men and they need to be purged at all levels. Can’t happen fast enough for me.

    What you won’t find in the RC are wholesale changes in the theology and practices of the CHURCH to suit what is popular in society in order to keep the wallets in the pews. That is what we Catholics are criticizing and what we are NOT guilty of.

    Christ didn’t alter the hard Truths of His Word to please the society He preached to and neither should His Church. Society should follow the Church. The Church doesn’t follow society.

  16. Apparently the Presbyterian Church was so eager to please its Gay Lobby that, in the opinion of most who read it, the rule they approved virtually endorses every kind of sexual morality.

  17. The problems within the Catholic Church are precisely that some people, including some priests and bishops, do not live up to what the Church teaches. The sexual abuse scandals have been caused by men who want to use young males for their own gratification. Now when a man has relations with another male, whatever age, that is homosexuality. So call a spade a spade. Yes there has been horrible and inexcusable evil inside the Catholic Church, because sinners (as we all are) have not lived up to the doctrines of the Church. But we have to be objective and not dodge the issue that overwhelmingly most abuse has been older men taking advantage of prepubescent and adolescent males. It’s not even pedophilia, its homosexual ephebophilia.

  18. RomCath: Though being raised in a loving Methodist home, it is obvious I no longer claim to be a Christian, though my 2 sisters and as far as I know, all past relatives were—including a preacher somewhere along the line. I personally think that Jesus was a Jew who happened to think outside the box. Was he divine? Many certainly think so, as there are a lot of religions that base their beliefs on that. However there are a lot of religions that don’t—some much older than Christianity. Do I BELIEVE in him? Not as a divine being. Do I believe he might have lived? Yes. But from my years as a Christian (though I had doubts most of the time I was being taught) my ideas of Jesus were of him teaching love and acceptance. Your speculation is that Jesus would be ill, and my speculation is he wouldn’t. Both are speculations.

  19. However, my speculation would at least be based on something. Jesus would not condone something that Scripture itself condemns. He forgave the woman caught in adultery but told her to sin no more. He did not condemn but he didn’t applaud either. I doubt he would applaud any religious body that claims His name that also condones any kind of immorality whatever flavor that might be.
    The resolution passed by the Presbyterians and other “Christian” bodies are based on popular opinion. The fact that they had to change their longstanding teachings of their own denomination should tell you that they don’t believe in eternal truths. The Catholic Church does change its teachings with the whims of time in matters of faith and morals. That sets it apart from all others.

  20. pagan sister

    it’s obvious you were not a ” Christian ” at all ! when a “believer ” backslides Jesus bid him / her to “come home , come home , ye who are weary / earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling / calling , ” oh sinner, come home ‘
    In your case , you need to start fresh and a little of ROMANS 10 : 9 & 10

  21. The Catholic Church does change its teachings with the whims of time in matters of faith and morals. That sets it apart from all others.

    of course it should read “DOES NOT change”

  22. You’re correct, Jireh, as a Christian is supposed to believe all that is taught to her/him. I had always doubted the things I was faithfully taught, and also married a man who gave me another point of view. (46 years later we’re still happy). Neither of us claim to be Christians—as we aren’t. My 2 children had both Christian teachings from my parents and that of the UU’s. They have found their own paths and are doing very well. My parents didn’t reject me, or their grandchildren, and neither have my sisters. My sisters and I respect each others beliefs, and have a great relationship—both devote Christians (though one married a Mormon, and 1 of her 2 children is a LDS the other a Methodist like her—she did not leave the UMC). I’m over 60, and my feelings haven’t changed. I take my beliefs from all religions/faiths, not just one. The word pagan in my post name only means I don’t believe that any one man/woman is “divine”. IMO everyone is—life is—why pin it down to 1 or 2 beings?

  23. RonCath: I caught your mis-type as I Knew you wouldn’t have said the church changes it’s mind on a whim( without at least 300 to 400 years of study). You base your speculation on a book written many, many years after the death of Christ—and copied and translated over hundreds of years. How much of what was written is actual or was some of it enhanced to promote Jesus and his way of thinking? Those writing would have an agenda. If anyone remembers playing “telephone” (I’m aging myself) distortion of what is said (or seen) is very easy. Much to be admired in the Bible (no matter the Catholic version or the other versions) , and much to be rejected, IMO. So, my speculation and yours are based on different ideas, and that is fine. It’s fun (at least for me) to put them out there. Hope your day has been a good one—-mine has.

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