Four more overtures have been submitted for the
2012 General Assembly
These are the
latest overtures received by of Office of the General Assembly. We are
posting them here with some condensation, but they will be posted on PC-biz
(pc-biz.org) once they have been edited
Amending G-2.0104b to Clarify Standards for Ordination—From the Presbytery
The Presbytery of Stockton
overtures the 220th General Assembly (2012) to change the
language of G-2.0104b in order to clarify the standards for ordination.
-- To insert after the first
sentence: “These standards are found in the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments as interpreted by the Confessions of the church and include the
commitment to live a chaste and disciplined life whether in holy marriage
between a man and a woman or in single life" (Book of Confessions 4.108).
-- To insert in the second
sentence these words: “…commitment to these standards….”
-- To delete the final
sentence: “Councils shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in
applying standards to individual candidates” and insert in its place: “Only
those who affirm a desire to adhere to the standards for ordained service
and who make an affirmative answer to the constitutional questions shall be
ordained or installed.”
The new paragraph will then
b. Standards for ordained
service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of
Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (F-1.02). These standards are found
in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as interpreted by the
Confessions of the church and include the commitment to live a chaste and
disciplined life whether in holy marriage between a man and a woman or in
single life (Book of Confessions 4.108). The council responsible for the
ordination and/or installation (G.2.0402; G-2.0607; G-3.0306) shall examine
each candidate’s commitment to these standards, calling, gifts,
preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of ordered ministry.
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).
Councils shall be guided by
Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual
candidates. Only those who affirm a desire
to adhere to the standards for ordained service and who make an affirmative
answer to the constitutional questions shall be ordained or installed.
of Government of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) currently states that the
manner of life of those called to ordained office in the church “should be a
demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and the world”
(G-2.0104a). It is vital to clarify that this gospel we are called to
demonstrate is not whatever one wishes it to be, but is, rather, the faith
“once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). This gospel is found in the
Scriptures as interpreted by our Confessions.
the Form of Government currently states that “Standards for ordained service
reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus
Christ in all aspects of life (F-1.02)” (G-2.0104b). This affirmation begs
the question of what the Lordship of Jesus Christ means. The answer includes
that we have no knowledge of Jesus Christ other than as he is revealed to
humanity in the written Word of God. Therefore joyful submission to the
Lordship of Jesus Christ means to seek obedience to the way of life that is
commended to us in the Scriptures as interpreted by our Confessions.
amendment gives necessary definition to terms used in the Form of Government
and removes ambiguity in the present wording that is causing grievous
disruption to the peace, unity, purity, and witness of the Presbyterian
Amending G-2.0104a. to Include Standards Regarding Sexual Behavior—From the
Presbytery of Central Florida.
The Presbytery of Central
Florida overtures the 220th General Assembly (2012) to direct the
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly to send the following proposed
amendment to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
Shall G-2.0104a be amended by
inserting the following text: [text to be inserted is shown as italic]
a. Those called to exercise
special functions in the church – deacons, ruling elders, and teaching
elders – God gives suitable gifts for their various duties. In addition to
possessing the necessary gifts and abilities, those who undertake particular
ministries should be persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and
love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Their manner of life should be a
demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and the world,
including living either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between
a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. They must have
the approval of God’s people and the concurring judgment of a council of the
persons who have abused the power of their office have harmed many in the
church. This sends a strong message that such behavior will not be
removal of clear standards regarding sexual behavior is harmful not only to
the Presbyterian Church (USA) but also to many of our ecumenical
removal of clear standards about appropriate sexual behavior has created
misrepresentation of our beliefs and persecution of Christians in parts of
the world where Christians are in the minority.
passage of Amendment 10-A has been destructive to the peace, purity and
unity of the church.
world filled with confusion about sexual ethics and commitment, the church
needs to emphasize the importance of fidelity within the bonds of marriage.
Instructing MRTI to Study and Report Corporate Practices of Health Insurance
Companies and Possible Divestment of Same—From the Presbytery of
The Presbytery of
Mid-Kentucky respectfully overtures the 220th General Assembly
(2012) to instruct Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) to
report to the General Assembly Mission Council on the corporate practices of
Cigna, Aetna, Humana, WellPoint, United Health Care health insurance
companies – in particular as such practices compare with and relate to
previous General Assembly actions relative to health care. The General
Assembly Mission Council is authorized and encouraged to act on this
information, and, as it deems appropriate, implement divestment procedures
as well as encourage individual Presbyterians and congregations to divest of
holdings in the said companies; and, in view of the urgency of the ongoing
health care crisis, to take action within six months of the adoption of this
recommendation; and to report to the 221st General Assembly
(2014) on divestment actions.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has consistently called for
fundamental reform of United States healthcare systems and in 2008
“endorse[d] in principle the provision of single-payer universal health care
reform…as the program that best responds to the moral imperative of the
Presbyterian Church (USA), in its healthcare policy statements, has
repeatedly pointed to issues of quality, equity and accessibility. ...
One instrument for implementation of its mission is church
investment policy with the corresponding option to divest from those
companies that actively oppose its mission goals;
Violation of a basic human right, such as the right to health
care, is one of several criteria by which corporate behavior may be
evaluated; [See MRTI priority issues work plan and historical involvements
relative to both health care and human rights at its web page -
Since the primary mission of
for-profit insurance companies is to make a profit for their investors and
since they are not themselves providers, by definition they decrease rather
than increase access to health care.
For-profit health insurance
companies consciously and deliberately oppose the above health care
principles and policy goals of the PCUSA in order to fulfill their
The actions of for-profit health
insurance companies have brought untold suffering and hardship in both the
private and public spheres and have obstructed the development of healthier
individuals in a healthier society.
Health care reform legislation
enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2010 only strengthens the decision-making
role of for-profit health insurance companies in matters affecting
individuals’ access to health care.
The Presbyterian Church has no
obligation to support such companies through investment but, to the
contrary, has a moral obligation to withdraw financially from them to the
extent that they are detrimental to the goal of equal access to health care.
For-profit health insurance
companies produce no product for the public good but instead increase
exposure to the financial ruin of individuals and the society as a whole.
Amending the Book of Order
Concerning the Titles Used for Those in Ordered Ministries—From the
Presbytery of Santa Fe.
Presbytery of Santa Fe respectfully overtures the 220th General
Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church (USA):
in the Form of Government (newly adopted, 2011) the terms “ruling elder” and
“teaching elder” used for those in ordered ministries be replaced throughout
the with the former terms “elder” and “minister of Word and Sacrament” being
section F-3.0202 be re-worded as follows (words to be stricken and/or
replaced shown underlined
and new words in bold italics):
(Current:) This church shall be governed by presbyters, that is,
ruling elders and teaching elders.
Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation
(Mt. 20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to
discern and weigh its
fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and
life. Teaching elders shall
be committed in all their work to equipping the people of God for their
ministry and witness.
(Proposed:) This church shall be governed by presbyters, that is,
elders and ministers of the Word and
Sacrament. Elders are chosen by the congregation to discern
and guide in its fidelity to
the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life.
Ministers of the Word and Sacrament
shall be committed in all their work to
teaching the faith in word and in deed and equipping the people of
God for their ministry and witness.
[There follow more detailed revised definitions of elder
and minister, with the basic rationale being that “[t]he change from ‘Elder;
to ‘Ruling Elder’ is both restrictive and negative in its implications ...
as the word ‘ruling’
evokes an authoritarianism that is foreign to the ‘ministry’ of elders in
the current church,” and that the title “teaching elder” ignores many
dimensions of ministry, including “spiritual formation” as well as pastoral
care, and the ministry of the sacraments. This may lead to a view of
ministry that is excessively focused on its intellectual aspect alone.]
Got comments on any of these proposals for change
(or for rolling back change,
as the case may be!)?
Just send a note,
to be shared here!