The PCUSA 2012: How we got 'here'
By Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president and executive editor of The Layman
Depending upon your personal spheres of influence and your exposure to Presbyterian news, for the past two years you have been hearing rumblings about the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s passage of a new Form of Government and the accompanying Amendment 10A which has had the effect of removing from the constitution the explicit requirement of “fidelity in marriage [or] chastity in singleness” for ordained officers of the PCUSA. Recently, you have heard about the General Assembly being prayed over by a Hindu priest, and taking counsel from a Muslim, electing to the office of vice moderator a pastor who admittedly performed a same-sex wedding in contradiction to the constitution, subordinated the Book of Confessions to the Book of Order and perpetuated for another two years the debate over the clear definition of marriage.
Since the change in ordination standards, several presbyteries have ordained and installed self-avowed, unrepentant practicing gay men and women to the office of teaching elder and several churches have done the same in respect to elders and deacons. The new head of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians has revealed that he lived in a closeted gay relationship while serving as a pastor for ten years. Several commissioners to the General Assembly publicly celebrated the gay weddings they had performed and the gay ordinations they had participated in. Sessions across the denomination have responded by entering into seasons of discernment wherein they are considering all options for their churches going forward, including an examination of their denominational affiliation.
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