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Presbyteries act on Amendment 10-A for inclusive ordination

Click here for resources for study and discussion >>
Click here for reports on presbytery actions >>
Click here for earlier posts on inclusive ordination >>

Inclusive ordination – from policy to reality, in the PC(USA)

This news comes from Michael Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer of More Light Presbyterians  

Scott Anderson will be ordained on October 8 at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Madison, WI.

We believe that Scott's ordination will be the first ordination of an out gay candidate in the PCUSA since the passage of Ordination Amendment 10-A on May 10 and its going into effect as G-2.0104 on July 10.

We hope many of you will consider going to Madison for Scott's ordination on Saturday, October 8, particularly those of you within an easy driving distance. Road trip!

To send a note to Scott --

Scott has served as Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians. He has advocated for the full participation of LGBT persons in the life, ministry and witness of our Church for a long time. We so appreciate his call and faithful journey to have his ordination reinstated by John Knox Presbytery. Scott serves as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. He served as Executive Director of the California Council of Churches before moving to Wisconsin. Scott's call, gifts and qualifications for ordained ministry and service in our Church are clear to anyone who meets him. He has been serving God and the Church in ministry for many years now, of course.

Please join More Light Presbyterians in holding Scott and his family; all LGBT candidates, inquirers and seminary students; and our Church in your hearts, thoughts and prayers on October 8.

I give thanks to God for all the ways each of you has worked so faithfully for these historic moments in the life of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Christian Communion.

with hope and grace,


SFTS affirms the newly welcoming stance of PCUSA – and offers strong welcome to LGBT students    [8-20-11]

Colleen Bowers, a member of the Coordinating Team of PVJ, recently received a note from two members of the staff of San Francisco Theological Seminary, which we are happy to share with you all. They write:


August 18, 2011

“I am about to do a new thing. Now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?” – Isaiah 43:19 

We write to you with excitement about the new thing God is doing in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The passing of 10-A is a milestone of the Spirit’s movement in our church, and as two members of the LGBT community serving this denomination, we are deeply grateful for your years of hard work, determination, and faithfulness to God’s vision of an inclusive church. We stand upon this threshold with humility and gratitude, as well as with anticipation of a new and unfolding future. 

We believe that all of us must participate in living into the “new thing” God is doing by helping current and future LGBT Inquirers and Candidates have healthy, meaningful seminary experiences, advocating for their recognition and support in their home Presbyteries, and assisting them in networking to find their first calls in ministry. We are committed to sharing in this work with you. As Interim Associate Dean of Student Life/Chaplain and Director of Enrollment at San Francisco Theological Seminary, our respective ministries are to support students through their educational experience and their discernment process. We hope to be a resource for any individual who is considering seminary and a call to professional ministry, especially our fellow LGBT kin, regardless of what seminaries they are considering attending.

Because we serve in an institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we also want you to know that SPTS is a safe and welcoming place for its LGBT community. The Inclusive Community Statement developed by our students last year speaks to this. The statement ... was unanimously approved by our faculty and student government, and strongly supported by our staff and administration. As SFTS staff and recent alumni, we are proud to be a part of the seminary at this time and we are optimistic about the future of both SFrS and the PC(U.S.A.).   

Please feel free to contact either of us if we can be of help to you or to any current or future seminarians you know.

Peace be with you.

Scott Clark, M,Div., Class of 2009
Interim Associate Dean of Student Life/ Chaplain

Elizabeth B. P. McCord, M.Div., Class of 2006
Director of Enrollment

Click here for a news release about the Seminary’s adoption of the Inclusive Community Statement     
Breaking News:

GA PJC clears Scott Anderson to be first approved, openly gay minister in the PC(USA), while Lisa Larges’ case is returned to synod for more deliberation   [8-2-11]

Leslie Scanlon, writing for Presbyterian Outlook, reports:

LOUISVILLE – 2 August 2011 – The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission has dismissed a challenge to the ordination of Scott Anderson, which means that Anderson – a gay man who set aside his ordination in 1990 after congregants publicly revealed his sexual orientation – may once again be ordained by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

But the commission remanded back to the Synod of the Pacific Permanent Judicial Commission a case involving Lisa Larges, a lesbian who has sought ordination in the PC(USA) for roughly a quarter-century. The commission ruled that the synod commission erred in not addressing concerns raised in the appeal of her case – basically, an argument that some standards of sexual morality are based in the Bible and the confessions, and can’t be set aside even if the denomination’s ordination standards change.   The full report >>

GA PJC expected to rule tomorrow on two “gay ordination” cases   [8-1-11]

The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission met on July 29 in Louisville, hearing two cases dealing with the question – raised before the approval of ordination for LGBT Presbyterians – of whether two particular lesbian and gay candidates – Lisa Larges and Scott Anderson – can be ordained in the PC(USA). One obvious action would be to declare the cases moot, since the amendment to delete the ban on ordination of people involved in same-sex relationships went into effect on July 10, 2011.

Leslie Scanlon, of The Presbyterian Outlook provides a good background report, and we’ll bring you news of the PJC decision as soon as it is made public, probably tomorrow.

One presbytery acts to keep old ban on LGBT ordination     [7-18-11]

Northumberland Presbytery (in north central Pennsylvania) took two actions on July 16, 2011 in response to Ordination Amendment 10-A, which has now become G-2.0104 in the Book of Order. First they reinstated the old G-6.0106b (the “fidelity and chastity” requirement) as the policy of the presbytery, and then the majority also passed a motion allowing individual churches to withhold per capita from GA as protest against 10-A passing. The Presbytery will not be permitted to send the missing per capita payments to GA.

The wording of the presbytery action on ordination:

"Whereas each Presbytery is now called to establish its own standards for ordination, we move that Northumberland Presbytery adopt as ordination and/or installation policy the 2011 Book of Order section G60106.b as a requirement for ordination and installation within this Presbytery.

b. Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as ministers of the Word and Sacrament."

This indicates that the struggle for justice and inclusion in the PC(USA) will continue, as fears of change and “the other” and “impurity” continue among many Presbyterians.

If you’re aware of similar reactions in other presbyteries, or even better, if you have suggestions for helping our church and our people deal with such reactions, please send a note, and we’ll share it here!

A reader comments – supporting Northumberland Presbytery's  action against LGBT ordination

I appreciate what the Northumberland Presbytery did. I am not fearful of change nor am I homophobic. The issue for me is not a justice one but one of interpreting Scripture to mean what it has always meant when it comes to sexuality. Sex is reserved between a man and a woman in the context of marriage. It doesn't matter what transpired with Amendment 10-A. Those who voted in favor of this Amendment have not studied the Scripture nor do they understand the pro-gay movement and how it has helped blind the eyes and hearts of many within the PCUSA.

Jeff Winter

Jeff is a minister member of Southern New England Presbytery, currently serving a non-denominational church on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

A day for celebration and hope ...

As most of you surely are aware, this is the day on which the 2010 General Assembly’s action to affirm the legitimacy of ordination of LGBT Presbyterians goes into effect.

The new Book of Order, with the revised Form of Government and no more G-6.0106b, goes into effect today – one year from the adjournment of the 219th General Assembly, which sent those and several other amendments to the presbyteries. It includes G-2.0104b, which makes clear that ordination is a fully legitimate possibility for LGBT people.

Here’s the full text of the new policy: 

Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003) pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate's sincere efforts to adhere to these standards. 

According to one tally of the votes so far, 97 presbyteries voted for approval of Amendment 10-A, while 72 voted against it. Twenty-three presbyteries shifted from opposed a similar change 2 year ago to supporting it now, while four presbyteries shifted the other way.

This is surely a day for thanksgiving – to the God of grace and truth who has led us to this point, to the countless women and men who have borne witness faithfully and courageously, and to the many, many others in our church who have come to the point of supporting this change.

So to the individuals and groups who have helped our church see the (more) light, PVJ says Thanks! And thanks be to God whose embrace includes us all!

And this is also a day for hope – that love may prevail over fear among the many who are deeply concerned about this change, and that all of us may act with determination and wisdom to make the slogan “welcoming church” a reality through our denomination, around the country, and in the wider world.

A call for church-wide celebrations & stories for July 10     [6-18-11]

Michael Adee, National Organizer of More Light Presbyterians, has sent out this interesting suggestion for marking the date when Amendment 10-A goes into effect, for the full inclusion of LGBT Presbyterians in the leadership of the PC(USA):

Grace and peace. Amendment 10-A goes into effect on July 10 because of its ratification on May 10 in Minneapolis. We give thanks to God that the Presbyterian Church (USA) enters a new era of equality on July 10. ...

Today, all of us have another opportunity to be part of transformation in our Church and world by creating celebrations and using the tools of media that help us tell the story to everyone. When we tell our stories through media, people around the world who are moving toward full equality find support. Our stories give them hope! Let’s tell our stories about the moral and spiritual equality of LGBT people.

The end of the vote and the implementation of the new policy on July 10 is a vital moment and we need your help to get this good news out there. Here is what you can do.

Create a Celebration on Sunday, July 10. The Presbyterian Church (USA) passed Amendment 10-A which removes barriers to ordination for LGBT people. Mark this historic moment in the life of the Church and your local congregation by opening your service with a celebration. This can be a procession or a "minute for mission" where congregants share the importance of this Presbyterian action and what it means to you. Work with us to generate interest among journalists so the stories get out to the whole world. Consider a procession of rainbow banners, scarves or balloons at the start of the worship service so the reporter can get a photo and not disturb the rest of the service. Interviews can be held at another time. We will provide you with a template for a media alert that you can send to the religion reporter from your local newspaper. Just register your celebration below and we will be in touch!

Michael Adee

He offers other good ideas, too. For more information, contact Michael at

One more presbytery steps toward justice, approving Amendment 10-A   [6-15-11]

Providence Presbytery celebrated Pentecost (on Sunday, June 12, 2011) by approving Amendment 10-A, 48-44-1, thus becoming the first presbytery in South Carolina to make the great step forward. They are the 23rd presbytery to take that step toward justice in the voting this year.

As expected, Hanmi Presbytery voted against 10-A, by 0-39.

The tally is now 97-75.

Kiskiminetas is the last presbytery to vote on June 28th.

Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer,and John Shuck, blogger of Shuck and Jive.

10-A and the future of the PC(USA)     [6-8-11]

David True, an associate professor of religion at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., has published a thoughtful commentary on the various responses among Presbyterians to the ratification of Amendment 10-A. He begins:

Reactions to the passage of Amendment 10-A have in large part reflected the division of the vote. Many have cheered its passage, while others have bemoaned it. What is interesting and somewhat surprising is that the debate appears not to have boiled over, at least not yet. To be sure, feelings are running high, but so far both sides have acted with considerable restraint. Supporters of 10-A have spoken graciously about their hopes that those on the other side will stay, and opponents have not, at least not yet, headed for the door en masse. What should we make of this? Is it a hopeful sign of a new day or are Presbyterians simply acting pragmatically?

I want to suggest that competing visions of the church forged in the debate over ordination are now informing the prevailing restraint. In the next months these visions will be tested and perhaps transformed, and in the process they may help remake the PC(USA) and perhaps American Protestantism more broadly. The competing ecclesiastical visions are 1) the church as a community of hospitality and 2) the church as the antithesis to the world. To see the power of these visions we need first return to their interpretations of 10-A, then to the current restraint, and finally to some future possibilities.

Read his full essay on the Presbyterian Outlook blogsite.

“Choose this day” – one clear example of choosing to stand “against the world”

As one example of his second group, those who see the church as called to stand against “the world,” the Presbyterian Layman is urging conservatives to sign on to its “I choose this day” letter, calling on their congregations to heed Joshua’ call to the people of Israel to “Choose you this day whom you will serve!” Thus they would “stand firm against a tide of cultural accommodation that is swamping the Presbyterian Church (USA).”

Click here for the Layman’s call to “choose this day” >>

For the text of the “choose this day” petition >>

A very interesting list of “resources” on this project, including papers on how pastors can leave the denomination without losing their pension benefits; how congregations can leave and take their church property with them; a letter to a session conveying the call to consider “choosing”; a list of congregations that have left the denomination, and much more.

Please share your thoughts --
on David True's analysis,
or on the Layman's latest campaign to purify the church.
Just send a note
and let's talk about this!

Another presbytery shifts to vote for inclusive ordination     [5-24-11]

Missouri Union Presbytery today voted 43 to 38 to approve Amendment 10-A -- the 22nd presbytery to FLIP from no to yes.

Also, Western New York continued its support of equality and justice, approving amendment A by 77 to 44.

The current tally is 96-69.

Church of Scotland votes to allow gay ministers

Scotland's largest protestant church lifts temporary ban imposed after appointment of gay minister in 2009     [5-24-11]

The Guardian reports:

Scotland's largest protestant church has voted to allow gay men and lesbians to become ministers.

The Church of Scotland imposed a temporary ban after the appointment of Scott Rennie, a gay minister, to a church in Aberdeen in 2009.

The general assembly, the church's law-making body, voted on Monday morning [May 23] to lift that moratorium, officially allowing gay ministers to take on parishes for the first time since it was founded in 1560-1 by John Knox, a leading figure in the Scottish reformation.

The vote follows warnings that allowing gay and lesbian clergy could split the church. A special commission set up in 2009 to investigate the implications of Rennie's appointment predicted that up to a fifth of the church's ministers, deacons and elders, as well as 100,000 worshippers, could leave in protest.

The commission warned that the issue was extremely divisive, with another 1,800 church leaders and 40,000 parishioners saying they would leave if gay ministers were not admitted. The church has 445,000 communicants, or active members.   More >>

Why approve 10-A?

More on the ratification of Amendment 10-A by the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area – what people said in the floor discussion    [5-24-11]

We reported almost two weeks ago on the action of the Twin Cities Area presbytery in approving Amendment 10–A to the Book of Order of the PC(USA). The discussion before the vote had been planned by the presbytery leaders to allow for the expression of varying views, but in a format that would minimize back-and-forth “debate” that might sharpen differences of opinion.

Each side, for and against approval of LGBT ordination, was presented first by a member of the Bills and Overtures committee, and each of them was followed by ten minutes for statements by members of the presbytery. Presentations in favor of approval were varied, but seemed to articulate many of the most important reasons for support the change. A number of the speakers have shared the written version of their remarks, which we’re happy to share with you here. Just click on the name of any presenter that looks like a link, and you’ll see that full statement.

For more on the discussion in Twin Cities Area presbytery >>

Two more presbyteries support 10-A   [5-19-11]

The Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley, by a vote of 80 to 52), joined the other two presbyteries in Alabama to support inclusive ordination.

And one more! Homestead Presbytery, in Nebraska, voted 46-29 in favor of Amendment A.

Not everybody is joining in, though. Los Ranchos voted today also, and again voted no, 51-131. so the tally is 94-69.

Thanks to blogger John Shuck

Added on 5-20-11 --

Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer, observes that Amendment 10-A has now been approved by all the presbyteries in the states of Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Also all those in Illinois and Indiana (the entire Synod of Lincoln Trails!). That’s not counting non-geographical presbyteries, or states with only one presbytery.

Upcoming votes: 

bulleton Saturday, May 21, San Juan
bulleton Tuesday, May 24, Missouri Union, Western New York
bulleton Thursday, May 26, Hanmi, Peace River
More presbyteries support 10-A and inclusive ordination    [5-17-11]

On Saturday, May 14, the Presbytery of Boise voted 37-27 to approve the amendment for inclusive ordination. Boise was the 20th presbytery to flip from a no to a YES.

And today, Tuesday May 17, the Presbytery of Des Moines strengthened its past support Amendment 10-A, by a vote of 64 yes, 29 no, with 2 abstaining. Three other presbyteries also continued their support of 10-A: Charlotte, Des Moines, and New York.

The current tally is 92-66.

Thanks to John Shuck and Bill Le Mosy

Standing in Pain

by Jenny Stone

It takes a willingness to share another’s pain. And I am grateful that so many were willing to share the pain of gay people to understand the importance of gay ordination. As you know, many of us did not want to do it. “What! Talk about it one more time?” We were so tired of the subject.

But it wasn’t just a subject, it was and is people. Individual lives, and pains. All too often deaths, spiritual or physical.

I have felt unable to regularly go to a Presbyterian church since my ordination process. I felt so painfully disowned by people of my home church. A disowning, they would say, they didn’t do. All the more painful. They would say it didn’t happen. Their relationship with me was and is just fine. They are an “open” church. Open to everybody. There was just that bump in the road during the ordination process. If they even knew about it at all. Besides, they don’t want to dwell on the unpleasant things, and they don’t want me to either. If I do then that’s probably my own fault.

The session members who were there, who did it, didn’t think it was a big deal. After all, they were busy. My liaison to the session said I was the one who was making a big deal out of my being gay. It wasn’t an issue to them. Because if I was called to serve God, it was such a profound call that it shouldn’t be a big deal to forgo a primary relationship.

Seminary had been hard. The ordination process had been hard. And now, in the next stage for the better part of a year I tried to talk to them about it. To make time. To understand. This is usually a pretty smooth ordination process. We only have 15 minutes. Don’t make a problem or it’s your fault.

I had audited a prophets course before the final ordination steps where the professor said, contrary to our impression, the prophets had not done it alone. They had support systems. Whether right or wrong, his thought had prompted me to consider how many people, what was the minimum from my church that I needed for support. Who really “got it”? Were willing to walk with me. Share my pain. I decided two. As I interacted with the session members I realized there were not two. There was not even one.

It would have taken years for me to educate the session, the church, my liaison. Uphill. Painful years. Being told I was the problem. And they didn’t want to spend the time even now. With no income. Or commuting 3½ hours from a possible job to go to church there. But this was my church family, my only family. Had been for years. Over a decade. Then seminary for years. To take this on would take the majority of my emotional and spiritual attention for more years. Trying to get their attention to get them to understand, while being blamed.

I knew they would not have thought it was OK for a black man to have a different standard of conduct as a minister than a white man, to ordain him on those terms. They would have told themselves they would have been fast to the forefront of justice on that. They said to me my being gay was not an issue for them. I was the one making a big deal out of it.

And when I attend even progressive Presbyterian churches since then, the ministers don’t get it, the members don’t get it. Why don’t I just join them in “happy church?” Surely I can. What’s the problem with coming as a member?

I had moved my membership quickly to avoid re-experiencing the burning hot stove of being disowned by my extended family while being told it wasn’t happening. The minister of my new church didn’t get the pain either. This was a different church. Thus, I was surprised when attending one day, when not pre-arranged, he announced from the pulpit that I was joining. And he didn’t get it when I desperately, desperately, wanted to run out of the church building, instead of “extending” and “being extended the right hand of fellowship” by everybody in the congregation. I knew that I would have sobbed through the whole receiving line, while fielding happy welcomes and chats, while nobody got it, a social embarrassment at best. This was not a celebration for me. Membership in a church may usually be a celebration, but then for me it was another step in the misunderstanding and distance from people getting, even tolerating, my so overwhelming pain. Another step in my moves within a denomination that was saying I was too dirty to be close to the pulpit. Despite my standing up and being open with the pain it cost to follow the call of God and walk forth anyway. While others were saying they weren’t the victimizers. I should immediately be happy with them. If not, I was creating the problem. I should join them in “happy church.”

Thank you for being willing to tolerate as much as you did to move gay ordination forward. To tolerate standing with the pain of gay people long enough to do this.

— With you praying for church of genuine community where we are able to stand, sharing in each other’s joys and pains therein seeking God and the joys, pains, and life of Jesus.

Jenny Stone, Memphis, May 2011 
Former Member of the Witherspoon Board

How transformative inclusion fits within the larger vision of global justice    [5-12-11]

Sylvia Thorson-Smith, a member of the Coordinating Team of PVJ and long active in Voices of Sophia, was asked to participate in a press conference the day after the required number of presbyteries acted to approve Amendment 10-A for inclusive ordination.   She preparing this as her opening comment in that press conference:

I represent a group that’s the recent merger of a passionate feminist organization and the oldest liberal issues organization in the Presbyterian Church. We’re not connected with the official structures of the church – just like the other groups on this call.

Feminists have long made the connection between issues of sex and gender – and all of the other “isms” that plague us. When we strike a blow at any oppression, we undermine the entire structure of oppression.

Twenty years ago, the Presbyterian Church soundly rejected a report I helped write -- that said that patriarchal sex bolsters patriarchal injustice. Compulsory heterosexuality – the social mandate that everyone be heterosexual – also requires that all men dominate all women, and the world. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons undermine the fundamental structures of domination because they proudly refuse to conform to these traditional norms.

I believe that this movement has the power to shake the world. Every country, some more than others, punishes LGBT experience and behavior. And every victory to make institutions less punitive moves us closer to more freedom for all.

This is a profoundly historic moment, not only for the Presbyterian Church, but for the liberating energies at work all over the world. We stand on the shoulders of people who have worked not only for sex and gender justice but racial, environmental, and other justice issues. What we celebrate today is part of the world’s groanings for peace and freedom! Which is why we call for More Light, more love, more justice!

Sylvia Thorson-Smith

One observer comments on the action of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities.    [5-12-11]

"There was a confidence in the air tonight. It was tangible and good."

Susan Robertson wrote this observation for the MLP website, after attending the Twin Cities presbytery meeting on Tuesday.  Susan has been the bookkeeper for PVJ for the past few years, and does the same invaluable job for MLP.

I was asked to write about my experience tonight as the Twin Cities Presbytery became the 87th presbytery to vote in favor of 10-A. I am not clergy, I am no longer a deacon in a church. In fact, I haven't even walked into a church for many years, with the exception of a Christmas Eve service.

I wanted to attend this presbytery meeting so that I could witness history and be a part of the wave of change in the Presbyterian Church and in society. I was struck by something that the Vice Moderator of the presbytery said during her address to the group. She talked about fear; the fear of not being able to be who you are, the fear of not being treated the way you would like to be treated, and the fear of someone else changing a world that doesn't really need to be changed.

The Vice Moderator went on to talk about how love casts out that fear. She reminded us that we should attempt to displace the fear with acts of love. She challenged us to see what we can do to show our love to those who are fearful.

I would believe that by this time, she had captured all of our attention.

Having never been to a presbytery meeting before, everything was new and different. The people that were in favor of 10-A spoke first. One person mentioned that 10-A is not about a group of people to be ordained, but rather about God's call to a group of people to be ordained. There was much talk about "latitude" in scriptural interpretation. Only one "youth" was represented and spoke about God's radical and inclusive love.

Those against 10-A, who were far fewer in number, rose and voiced their opinions against 10-A.

There was a confidence in the air tonight. It was tangible and good. The highlight for me, other than the outcome, was when a woman for 10-A rose and spoke about how we were all knitted in God's womb. She paused and then asked, "Has God ever dropped a stitch?"

"Now I can hold my head up high and proclaim to the world who I am!! "    [5-12-11]

We received this note yesterday from Pamela Ann Reed, who now lives in Columbus, Ohio.

I finally feel that my role as a deacon has been accepted by the whole church! Oh! I know that there are still those who do not accept me!! But the church itself now does and that feels so uplifting!! As a person who fits 2 of the letters in GLBT (T and L) I feel vindicated in my role in the church!! I have been very lucky to be part of two wonderful communities in the Presbyterian Church! First at First Presbyterian in Palo Alto, California and now at Broad Street Presbyterian in Columbus, Ohio. I was just elected to be a deacon at Broad Street and will soon be active as a deacon.

Now I can hold my head up high and proclaim to the world who I am!! No more worrying that I will be told that I am not worthy and can not follow my calling!! This is a most wondrous time in our church!! Hallelujah!!! 

Pamela Ann Reed

"... today, we give thanks that a major form of injustice has been righted in our church."

A statement from Presbyterian Voices for Justice   [5-11-11]

For over thirty years, Presbyterians have debated the will of God and refused to allow lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons to serve God in all ordained capacities in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Whenever injustice is perpetuated, it feels like a recurrence of the captivity of the Israelites in Egypt. Like them, LGBT persons and their allies have cried to God for justice, and our prayers have been answered. The Holy Spirit has been praying with us in sighs too deep for words, and that Spirit has touched human hearts in a massive movement for change.

Praise be to God that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has taken a giant leap of freedom and removed a major barrier to equality among us. There is yet much to do to make the PC(USA) a fully just and egalitarian community for all of its members. But today, we give thanks that a major form of injustice has been righted in our church.

The Coordinating Team of Presbyterian Voices for Justice
May 11, 2011

Amendment 10-A is ratified!

Late this afternoon, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area became the 87th presbytery to approve of the constitutional amendment that drops from the church’s rule a ban on the possibility of ordination (as minister or elder) for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. The responsibility for discerning persons’ suitability for ordination is now placed where it was in the beginning of the Reformed churches: in the hands of the ordaining body – i.e. the presbytery for ministers, and the local church session for elders.

The vote was strongly supportive of the change: out of 264 ballots cast, 205 were for the amendment, and just 56 against it, with 3 abstentions.

The discussion of the action was set up in a way to minimize conflict and oppositional thinking about the subject. First one member of the Committee on Bills and Overtures (Gordon Dosher, who as a commissioner to the 2010 General Assembly was assigned to the committee that dealt with the ordination question) spoke for about ten minutes; he was followed by ten supporters of the amendment, each being give just one minute to make his or her point. Then a member for the Bills and Overtures Committee spoke for ten minutes explaining his reasons for opposing the change, after which ten others gave their reasons for opposing it.

I’ll try to summarize some of the points that were made, and post some of the speeches in their entirety, after I get a bit of sleep tonight.

And if you have news or thoughts to share, please send a note and enrich our discussion!

In the meantime, here are some reports already posted:


Jerry Van Marter, writing for Presbyterian News Service, opens with the headline:

“PC(USA) relaxes constitutional prohibition of gay and lesbian ordination


Click here for his full report >>


More Light Presbyterians begins its announcement of the news thus:


Dear friends,

Grace and peace. We give thanks to God that the 219th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 10-A was ratified tonight as Twin Cities was the 87th presbytery to approve it by a vote of 205 to 56 with 3 abstentions.

Tonight Presbyterians join the United Church of Christ, the Episcopalian Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as denominations who have eliminated official barriers to full membership, leadership and service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. This is indeed a historic moment in the life of the Presbyterian Church (USA), but also in the worldwide Christian communion. More >>


The Covenant Network board has issued a statement expressing gratitude for the passage of the amendment >>


Blogger John Shuck, in his happily opinionated way, offer a brief roeport and concludes with the line, “Today, finally, I can say that I am proud of my denomination.”


Heather Reichgott, another very thoughtful blogger, provides a sensitive and insightful comment, beginning with the thought: “We have been to the mountain top! And... there are still more mountains. What joy, tonight, to learn that Amendment 10-A has been ratified!”

Click here for her blog >>


The New York Times report, by Laurie Goodstein, begins:

Presbyterians Approve Ordination of Gay People

After 33 years of debate, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted to change its constitution and allow openly gay people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons.

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.

The full story >>


Also in voting on Tuesday:

In voting today, dubbed "May 10-A" in eager anticipation:

•          New Harmony increased its support for ordination equality, 28-72 (20-99-1 on 08-B).

•          Western Kentucky also improved, 26-37-1 (compared to 17-42).

•          Prospect Hill followed suit, 22-44-1 (on 08-B, 12-63).

•          And the Presbytery of the Pacific became the 88th, increasing its support to 102-60-2 (100-90-3 on 08-B)!

•          San Gabriel capped off an amazing day by increasing its support to a tie, 92-92 (on 08-B, 79-136)! While a tie (since it is not an affirmative vote) counts as a 'no,' this is a great achievement.

Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer, for this late report.


I’ll be back tomorrow with more details and commentary on this great step forward for the PC(USA).

And if you have news or thoughts to share, please send a note and enrich our discussion!

Plains and Peaks shifts to support an inclusive church     [5-7-11]

Just one more affirmative vote will ratify Amendment 10-A

Earlier today, Saturday, May 7, the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks approved amendment 10-A by a vote of 73-51 moving us to just one vote from ratifying this important change! This is a magnificent shift from their vote two years ago, rejecting Amendment 08-B by 41 to 60.

Dakota Presbytery was also scheduled to meet this weekend, but we don't yet have a report.

The next presbyteries to vote:

Tuesday, May 10: New Harmony, Pacific, Prospect Hill, San Gabriel, Twin Cities Area, Western Kentucky. Of these presbyteries, Pacific and Twin Cities Area have previously approved the inclusive church amendment two years ago.

Saturday, May 14: Boise.

We encourage you to do whatever you can – by your prayers, your phone calls, your own speaking in your own presbytery – to move us one giant step toward greater justice and inclusive love in our church.

Thanks to blogger John Shuck, and Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer

Middle Tennessee Presbytery flips to support 10-A

Of the presbyteries voting this week on Amendment 10-A, to open the possibility of ordination for LGBT Presbyterians, three have again rejected the change, two of them (Foothills and Peaks) by narrower margins than two years ago. St. Andrew maintained the same percentage vote, though with fewer presbyters voting.

But the big news – the good news – is that Middle Tennessee Presbytery voted today by 93 to 86 with 1 abstention, for a more inclusive church. This is the 18th transformed presbytery, having voted 95 to 139 against 08-B.

The national count is now 85 to 62. Two more YES votes will ratify the constitutional change.

With Plains and Peaks voting on Saturday, and possibly shifting to support the change, and Pacific and Twin Cities voting on Tuesday (both of which supported inclusion in two years ago, we are in sight of 87, and the change so many of us have worked and prayed for, for so long!

Thanks to blogger John Shuck, and Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer

One quick comment on this report, from David Oliver-Holder of Bayfield, Wisconsin::


More about the Middle Tennessee presbytery meeting, from Trice Gibbons, who was active there on behalf of More Light Presbyterians:

[added here on 5-7-11]

What a day! When I [left] this morning at 7 a.m. to drive to Clarksville, we had no idea what we were about to witness. We arrived in time to set up the MLP display before worship started and I chuckled when a leader of the opposition "discretely" positioned himself in front of our MLP display to make access a little more difficult. We then enjoyed an amazing worship service with The Reverend Meg Flannagan preaching on Lamentations. Can anyone say, "appropriate?" The hospitality offered by Clarksville's First Presbyterian Church was over the top.

There was an "information session" 10-A prior to lunch. In the packet for the commissioners was the annual statistical report of membership by congregation. Although the informational session was supposed to only address questions about the amendment – versus fostering debate, someone tried to draw a parallel between a reported decline in membership at Hillsboro Presbyterian, which sent a letter to churches in the presbytery re: their support of 10-A, and the support expressed. A representative from Hillsboro stood and said, "We took on honest look at our roles for the first time in 30 years; therefore, the decline represents a trend over many years." Point squashed.

The Coordinating Council requested that the pro and con sides identify "key note speakers" to kick off the debate. The Reverend Sally Hughes of Historic Franklin (who grew up in the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee at Trinity – one of the MLP congregations) spoke for the pro-side. She confessed immediately that she had been a commissioner at the 1996 GA and had voted in favor of G-6.0106b. She said she knew before that GA ended that she had made a mistake. She represented that pro-side very well.

The con-side was represented by the Senior Minister of Nashville's First Presbyterian Church, the largest congregation in the Presbytery with over 4,000 members. His argument was largely based on fear regarding loss of membership. All of those arguing against 10-A argued based on fear or quotes directly from The Bible. All of those arguing for 10-A did so with a message of hope. The question was called earlier than most of us would have liked, but that turned out to be a good thing.

... When the vote was read, the first thing we heard was 93 yes and our hearts sank because we knew that favorable vote last time was 95. ... Then we heard 86 no and 1 abstention. There was a momentary..."Uhmmm, what?" look on our faces before it began to sink in. ... Many thank yous are due to those who spoke on behalf of 10-A, including ... those who called into the Presbytery.


Two more presbyteries voted Saturday on Amendment A.  Both voted YES.   [5-2-11]

National Capital continued its strong support for equality by approving the change to G-6.0106b by a vote of 204-80-3.

And Missouri River Valley (Omaha and environs) increased its pro-equality margin and approved A, 52-39-4.

In a Sunday meeting the Presbytery of the Foothills voted 64 to 95 against the amendment – still a No, but by a narrower margin than two years ago, when it was 34 to 99.

The tally is now 84-60.

That means only three more YESes to reach 87 and take a big step forward for equality!

Click here for a listing of the presbyteries that have yet to vote >>

Thanks to John Shuck (of Shuck and Jive) and Pam Byers (of Covenant Network)

Three former Moderators of the PCUSA have written to the church expressing their support for 10-A 

The three former Moderators -- Freda Gardner, Rick Ufford-Chase, and Bruce Reyes-Chow -- have sent their letter to the church as a whole.  They begin:  

“...We've been asked what we think about 10-A, so we decided to share our thoughts and hope with you in this way. We also know that some in our Church are anxious about 10-A and its passage. We imagine similar fears were expressed about women's ordination. All of us are aware of the natural kaleidoscope of feelings in the midst of change.

We believe that Amendment 10-A will be profoundly helpful to the mission, future and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA)... “

Read the full letter >>

And here it is in easy-to-print PDF format >>

An Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church from one of your baptized kids

from Michael J. Adee, Executive Director & Field Organizer, More Light Presbyterians

April 25, 2011

Grace and peace to all of you. I was baptized as an infant at First Presbyterian Church, Billings, Montana. I was taught faith, Scripture, the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and confirmed at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Sulphur, Louisiana. As a kid and teenager, I loved going to church and being part of a church family. I sang in our church choir with my Dad, loved our youth group of four and the all-church potluck dinners. I had Jesus' bumper stickers on my 1963 VW bug when I was in high school. I probably annoyed some of my friends in high school and college with my Christian zeal. 

When I affirmed being gay in my late twenties, the Church was no longer a safe or loving place for me, so I left the Church. I give thanks to God for being loved back to faith by Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. I was ordained and installed as an Elder there. I've served as an Elder at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati and First Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I began serving as a volunteer with More Light Presbyterians in 1991 and on staff since 1999. I would not be in the Presbyterian Church, or in any church, if not for Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church and their unconditional welcome and invitation to serve God with them.  

I believe the 219th General Assembly's Ordination Amendment 10-A offers this kind of unconditional welcome and invitation to faith, grace, salvation, church membership and ministry to all of God's children, not just some. 

I've put a lot of my heart, thought, reflection on Scripture, prayer and my life experience into why I wholeheartedly support 10-A and believe it is a gift from God for our Church right now. Our Church will more lovingly and accurately reflect God's heart with the approval of 10-A.  

My Top Ten Reasons to Support Amendment 10-A 

1. This amendment returns our Church to the historic Presbyterian way of focusing upon faith and character as qualifications for ministry, not marital status or sexual orientation. 

2. This amendment honors God's call to ministry and the recognition of gifts for ministry given by God to people regardless of gender, race, marital status, sexual orientation or other human differences. 

3. This amendment allows for local congregations to call ministers, elders and deacons who can best meet the needs within their own communities. 

4. This amendment affirms the moral equality of all persons and ends discrimination based upon marital status or sexual orientation.

5. This amendment affirms God's diverse creation that we can see in Scripture and in our life together in community. 

6. This amendment affirms the gift of love by God to persons not limited by gender or race; and it provides support for the beautifully diverse and sacred reality of love and faithfulness experienced by couples and families in our world today. 

7. This amendment allows our Church the chance to shift from 37 years of debate, legislation and judicial cases about sexual orientation and to place our energies on mission, service and a hurting world that needs our care and ministry. 

8. This amendment is a helpful solution to the 14 years of departure from the historic Presbyterian standards for ordination. It's time to be honest, G-6.0106b has failed our Church. This "fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness" requirement has brought nothing but hurt, suspicion, division and driven people away from our Church.

9. This amendment affirms that God's creation, God's love, God's grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are available for all persons, not just some.

10. This amendment affirms Jesus' commandment for us to love God, neighbor and self; and to recognize as Jesus' taught that all persons are neighbors in God's world, no exceptions.

Imagine, dream, pray and work with me for a new way of being Church and serving in our world with the passage of 10-A. 

with hope and grace,


Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive Director & Field Organizer

More Light Presbyterians, 369 Montezuma Avenue # 447, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

(505) 820-7082,,


Two more presbyteries vote YES on Amendment A, for a more just and inclusive church!    [4-27-11]

Yesterday (Tuesday, April 26) Lehigh Presbytery continued its support for Amendment A, by 68-48-1.

And the Presbytery of Florida switched to vote Yes, by 49-36! It is the 17th presbytery to make that great shift for justice.

The count of presbytery voting is now 82-59.

Five more Yes votes are needed to move the PC(USA) a giant step forward.

Here is the remaining schedule >>

Thanks to blogger the Rev. John Shuck, and to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer.

De Cristo Presbytery switches to reject Amendment 10-A    [4-20-11]

Seven more Yes votes needed

From John Shuck, on April 17

The Presbytery of De Cristo voted 62-62 on Amendment A. In this business a tie means NO. This vote, sadly, is a switch in the wrong direction. Last time around De Cristo voted YES 59-48. Three presbyteries that have previously voted YES for equality have switched their vote this time to no. Compare that to 16 presbyteries that have flipped to YES from no.

The reckoning is 80-59 and we need seven more presbyteries to vote YES to make this important change this year. If it doesn't pass, then we do this all again in two years.

Here are the presbyteries yet to vote. Their vote last time is in parentheses followed by what we hope will happen!

We need seven YESes.


bulletFlorida (41-46) Flip
bulletLehigh (60-46-2) Hold


bulletMissouri River Valley (50-41-6) Hold
bulletNational Capital (222-102-1) Hold

bulletFoothills (34-99) Miracle Flip

bulletSt. Andrew (30-50) Flip

bulletMiddle Tennessee (95-139-1) Flip
bulletPeaks (74-136) Miracle Flip


bulletPlains and Peaks (41-60) Flip

bulletPacific (100-90-3) Hold
bulletTwin Cities (138-54-10) Hold
bulletKiskiminetas (34-70) Miracle Flip
bulletNew Harmony (20-99) Miracle Flip
bulletProspect Hill (12-63) Miracle Flip
bulletSan Gabriel (79-136) Miracle Flip

bulletBoise (25-34) Flip

bulletDes Moines (52-37) Hold
bulletCharlotte (133-124) Hold
bulletNew York City (76-25) Hold
bulletWest Jersey (88-80) Hold
bulletShenango (4-101) Miracle Flip

bulletHomestead (37-40-3) Flip
bulletSheppards and Lapsley (77-75) Hold
bulletLos Ranchos (35-143) Miracle Flip

bulletMissouri Union (31-48) Flip
bulletWestern New York (66-48) Hold

bulletPeace River (62-83-1) Flip

bulletProvidence (39-48-4) Flip

Unknown Date (and likely no)

bulletDakota (no voice)
bulletHanmi (1-30)
bulletMidwest Hanmi (?)
bulletSan Juan (no voice)
bulletSuroeste (0-41)
bulletWestern Kentucky (17-42)

Posted By John Shuck to Shuck and Jive at 4/17/2011 06:11:00 PM
San Francisco Presbytery supports Amendment 10-A for inclusive ordination     [4-13-11]

John Shuck reported on the voting last night in his blog [slightly edited here]:

Congratulations to the presbytery San Francisco who voted in favor of amendment A Tuesday, 198-143. Strange to call San Francisco a flip, but last time around they voted against equality 167-177-4.

Also, the Presbytery of Northern Kansas continued its support of equality and approved "A today, 69-20. Nicely done.

The reckoning is 80-58.

That means we need only seven more YESes to make a significant step in healing the church.

We have had 16 positive flips.
We have had 2 negative switches.
So that means 14 net flips.
35 presbyteries are yet to vote.
12 of those had voted YES last time.
We are in good shape.
But there is a lot of work to do.

For more details check the vote charts:

bullet MLP
bullet CovNet
bullet McCrosky
bullet Kattie

I am still holding on to my projection that the 87th YES will be cast on May 17th.

De Cristo (59-48 last time) votes on Saturday.


Celebration Without Apology

Also yesterday, the busy John Shuck posted this commentary on the state of the voting on Amendment 10-A. This posting does not necessarily represent the official views of Presbyterian Voices for Justice, but your WebWeaver believes it expresses some very important convictions that many of us would share.

When we get to 87 I am going to celebrate.

Let there be no doubt. I am happy that the PC(USA) is on the verge of changing its harmful, discriminatory, bad, mean, ignorant and abusive policy. I have been an advocate for change in this denomination since I first entered seminary 22 years ago joining a struggle--a battle--a fight--for equality and dignity that started long before I was conceived.

Oh yes, I am going to celebrate.

I am aware of the advice from other advocates for change that some of us should be less competitive or less obviously joyful about the change that is coming. We are reminded that there aren't winners and losers. We are all one in Jesus and so forth. We need to be gracious to those who are saddened about this change. We want to extend the arms of welcome to them. We shouldn't be like the "secular" world in terms of how it handles politics. We should be more Jesus like, I guess.

As if putting a Christian halo around our stench makes us smell nice. Life is struggle. It is no different within "the church" or without. The only difference is that within the church we pretend to be something we are not. That is called hypocrisy. "Let's be passive aggressive for Jesus."

This is a battle. This is a struggle. This is a fight. There are opposing sides. There are winners. There are losers.

Having been on the losing side for the past 22 years, I am happy to be on the winning side for a change. I am happy that our denomination won't officially suspect and condemn gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and unmarried heterosexuals as being "sinners". It is long past time that the church got this right. And yes, there is a right and wrong.

bulletIt is wrong to exclude people based on prejudice.
bulletIt is wrong to deny people privileges and rights.
bulletIt is wrong to use spiritual violence against people.
bulletIt is wrong to use sacred texts as weapons.
bulletIt is wrong to lie about people.

These wrong behaviors have been used by the opposition consistently throughout this struggle. I know this is a fight when I talk to students on campus or hear the stories of people in our PFLAG group. I hear the stories of harassment and bullying, excommunication from faith communities, rejection from family members because of what has been preached in church.

Oh yes, this is a fight.

And it will not end when the PC(USA) reaches its 87th vote. There is no guarantee yet that we are even getting to 87 this year. The steepest part of the climb is yet to come. I am not worried about reconciliation with the opposition at least until we get there. In the meantime, let's get out the vote.

And pardon me if I don't shed a tear for those who

say the church is apostate,
threaten to leave,
threaten to form alternate synods,
threaten to withhold money,
threaten to take the church to court for property,
[insert behavior here],
because of this change that is coming.

Barbara Wheeler and John Wilkinson will shed tears for you. In the latest edition (April 18) of Presbyterian Outlook, the two have written an article entitled, "Please Don't Go."

In the cacophony of voices, we hope that those who are distressed by the change will hear a clear message from Presbyterians like us who helped to bring it about. The message is this: PLEASE DON'T GO. Don't separate from us, either by leaving the PC(USA) or by withdrawing into a cul-de-sac inside it. We want and need to share a denomination with you.

It is interesting that Barbara Wheeler in particular says of this change that she "helped bring it about". She was the one who advocated for No Action – which is NO – the last time we voted on equality.

Whatever. Unlike those authors I will not grovel or plead with those who are unhappy with equality. I will treat you like an adult. If you want to go, feel free. If you want to stay, feel free.

Do know this:

If you stay, I will not enable your prejudice by rearranging deck chairs so you can find some way to reap the benefits of affiliation with the denomination while at the same time seeking power to exclude.

If you stay and you continue to use spiritual violence against my people I will fight you at every turn.

If you stay, I will never for the sake of "unity" with you throw LGBTQ people under the bus.

For my LGBTQ friends and allies who are excited about the change that is coming:

A little spark of justice is on its way, my friends. You don't have to be one bit apologetic for celebrating its arrival.

Posted By John Shuck to Shuck and Jive at 4/12/2011 01:13:00 PM

Two more presbyteries approve Amendment 10-A

Here's the latest news (and commentary!) from John Shuck, on his blog, Shuck and Jive:

More good news regarding equality. Two more presbyteries approved Amendment A today. Salem in North Carolina approved the amendment, 186-107-2 and Eastern Oregon voted YES 18-9. 

The tally is now 78-58. 

37 presbyteries are left to vote. Of those 37, if nine vote YES, then "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is outta here and the Presbyterian Church (USA) will finally put an end to its discriminatory policy against non-married people. 

CovNet reminds us that 78 yes votes is a milestone. The vote chart from 2008-2009 shows that 78 were all the yeses we received last time the PC (USA) had a chance to do the right thing. We are in much better shape this time and we need to follow the example of good folks all over the country from Carolina to Oregon.

I have four more good resources on the sidebar to help you make the case in your presbytery.

  1. Brian Spolarich: What Will Amendment 10A Mean If Passed?
  2. Katie Turpin: When Exclusions and Fears Disappear, the Fruits of the Spirit Are Planted
  3. Rev. Janet Edwards: It Is My Joy to Introduce You to My Uncles
  4. Rev. Mark Sandlin: Honestly, We Already Ordain Homosexuals

Coming up:

April 12th:

bulletNorthern Kansas (YES last time 71-23)
bulletSan Francisco (no last time 167-177-4)
April 16th
bulletDe Cristo (YES last time 59-48)

We should get three YESes from that bunch including a flip from San Francisco.

Life is good.
10-A voting continues – and support for passage must continue too   [4-5-11]

John Shuck reports on the current state of presbytery voting on Amendment 10-A, for inclusive ordination. We are combining two of his reports, one from earlier this morning, and one posted late this afternoon with more good news:

The battle for equality in the PC(USA) is tightening as is expected. Minnesota Valleys [meeting on Saturday, April 2] became the second presbytery to move from a pro-equality vote in 2008-09 to a no this year, defeating Amendment A, 51-55.

After that negative switch earlier in the week, and no positive flips since Donegal a few weeks ago, South Louisiana did justice up right by voting in favor of Amendment A, 46-28! This is especially interesting as South Louisiana was the clinching vote that killed the equality vote last time around.

The tally is 76-58.

So far, fifteen presbyteries have flipped from a No vote in 2008-09 to a YES in 2010-11, while two have shifted in the other direction. This could come down to one vote in one presbytery. It is that close.

Eleven more to go!

Coming up:

April 9th:

bulletBoise (no last time 25-34)
bulletEastern Oregon (YES last time 22-6)
bulletSalem (YES last time 156-149-1)

April 12th:

bulletNorthern Kansas (YES last time 71-23)
bulletSan Francisco (no last time 167-177-4)

April 16th

bulletDe Cristo (YES last time 59-48)

We can do this.
Get out the vote.
Get to the meeting.
Make a phone call to friends.
Speak the truth!
Presbyteries voting on March 22 raise the total count to 73 FOR inclusive ordination, and 52 against, with 48 still to vote.      [3-24-11]
bulletPhiladelphia voted overwhelmingly in favor of Amendment A, 182-102.
bulletMonmouth Presbytery also gave a strong affirmative vote, 74-32.
bulletThere were hopes that Carlisle Presbytery would shift to supporting ordination, but with apparently strong get-out-the-vote efforts by both sides, the vote was 89 to 102 against ordination.

The next votes expected:
bulletBaltimore on Thursday, March 24
bulletCoastal Carolina on Saturday, March 26
bulletNorth Puget Sound on Tuesday, March 29

Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer, and the Rev. John Shuck, on his Shuck and Jive blog.
Presbytery voting on Amendment 10-A stands at 71 for, 50 against     [3-20-11]

Tricia Dykers Koening sums up the voting by presbyteries on Saturday, March 19:

bulletNorthern Plains registered improvement but didn't quite get there, 32-34;
bulletNewark continued its support at 34-21;
bulletUtah held firm with a tally of 30-25;
bulletWhitewater Valley widened its supportive margin significantly, 124-89; and
bulletDonegal became the 14th presbytery to switch to support of 10-A from opposition to 08-B! They shifted to favor inclusive ordination by 83-80-1.

We also had Northumberland Presbytery on today's schedule, but haven't heard a report; they have never supported amending G-6.0106b in the past. And we learned that Eastern Korean voted against 10-A earlier this month.

The voting is clearly trending toward approval of a more just and inclusive policy on ordination in the PC(USA), but continued, consistent efforts will be crucial in bringing it to a successful conclusion.

The next presbyteries to vote:

bulletTuesday, March 22: Carlisle, Monmouth, Philadelphia
bulletThursday, March 24: Baltimore
bulletSaturday, March 26: Coastal Carolina

So the count as of March 19 is:

Total Presbytery Yes Votes on 10-A             71
Total Presbytery No Votes on 10-A               50
Presbyteries Left to Vote                              52

Presbyteries moving from No to Yes               14 
Presbyteries moving from Yes to No                 1

For the full chart of voting results >>

Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer  , and to John Shuck, blogger of Shuck and Jive

Three more presbyteries vote for Amendment 10-A

What a nice way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

bulletTransylvania Presbytery continued their support at 78-48, and widening the 08-B margin (83-61)
bulletEastminster approved by a margin of one vote, 46-45 – a good reminder that getting out the vote can make a real difference, and that the present favorable vote totals do not guarantee a win for justice. Their 08-B vote was 60-39-2.
bulletNew Brunswick, with a very convincing 88-10-3 (95-44 on 08-B)

So the total now stands at 65 for the change, 43 against.

Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer

One more presbytery votes for inclusive ordination

This report comes mainly from John Shuck's blog, Shuck and Jive

The month of March is off to a good start for Amendment A! Here is this week's roundup from Tuesday March 1st through Saturday, March 5th:

Holding to YES!

bulletGeneva 50-17-1
bulletGrace 243-149
bulletNorthern New England 63-15
bulletOhio Valley 77-32-2
bulletWest Virginia 93-56
bulletYellowstone 25-23-2

Holding to no.
bulletNorth Central Iowa 43-50

FLIP from no to YES!
bulletMission 201-194-1

Switching from yes to no.

Each one of the YES votes except Yellowstone increased their YES percentage. North Central Iowa improved its YES percentage as well.

The score is now 62-44 with 12 net flips.

If every presbytery yet to vote voted as they did last time, Amendment A will pass by three votes. A huge thank you to all of those who worked hard in every presbytery!

The real hope is that if

bulletevery equality-minded person gets to the meeting,
bulletphone calls are made,
bulletresources are shared (see sidebar),
bulletfolks speak from the heart,
bulletAmendment A will pass!
Presbyterian Right is campaigning hard against passage of Amendment 10-A   [3-5-11] 

It’s no surprise that conservative groups are working hard this year to defeat Amendment 10-A, which would amendment the Presbyterian Book of Order to permit presbyteries and congregations to consider LGBT members for ordination as pastors and elders. If your presbytery has not yet acted on this amendment, you might want to be aware of the kind of arguments that are being set forth, so you can respond to them effectively and thoughtfully in discussions and debates.

In addition to the voting guides that The Presbyterian Layman distributes around the country, the Presbyterian Coalition is sending out oppositional emails to local churches to criticize the 219th General Assembly's Amendment 10-A. Under the banner of "The Campaign to Reclaim Biblical Teaching," these e-mails claim to offer the one and “right” way to interpret Scripture. 

The Presbyterian Coalition holds that homosexuality is sinful, that LGBT persons are not capable of Christian character or moral behavior, and that Scripture is absolutely clear on these matters. The Presbyterian Coalition opposes ordination of LGBT persons in our Church regardless of God's call, gifts and qualifications for ministry. The Presbyterian Coalition claims to know and represent God's will on these matters as declared in their email below.

We encourage you to anticipate attempts to use the Bible in opposition to 10-A. Below is a copy of one of their oppositional e-mails. Sadly, the information being sent out does not offer the actual text of 10-A nor the substance of the amendment. It only says: "That amendment seeks to remove the ‘fidelity and chastity’ requirement from the Book of Order in G-6.0106b."  

Given this attack on 10-A, it becomes very important to have the actual text of Amendment 10-A available at the presbytery meeting, so that people know what they are voting on. This is one way to show true respect for conscience, and for the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of others.

Here is the text of one recent letter from the “Campaign to Reclaim Biblical Teaching”

March 3, 2011

Dear Pastor and Clerk of Session,

Your presbytery will be voting on amendments to the Presbyterian Church (USA) constitution in the near future. Please make an extra effort to have every presbytery commissioner from your church present and voting.

Amendment 10-A is a particular concern. That amendment seeks to remove the "fidelity and chastity" requirement from the Book of Order in G-6.0106b. As the voting stands today, the number of presbyteries favoring the amendment exceeds the number opposing it. The numbers of commissioners voting this time is significantly reduced from prior votes. In several cases, the outcome has been determined by fewer than five votes. You can make a difference in the remaining votes.

This is a matter of great concern and urgency. God's Word and will have not changed. Faithfulness to Jesus Christ in the witness and life of the PC(USA) is at risk.

The exact date, time, and place of voting are available from your presbytery office and may be available on your presbytery's website. You may have received hard copies of the proposed amendments. If not, they are available to you on the internet at

The Presbyterian Coalition and the Campaign to Reclaim Biblical Teaching are committed to upholding biblical faithfulness and constitutional integrity in the PC(USA). I want to refer you to a website that is devoted to resources on the amendments: .

If I can be of assistance to you as you prepare for these votes, please call me or contact me by email. My contact information is below.

Please go and vote wisely and faithfully.

In the name of Christ and for his glory,

Terry Schlossberg
Campaign to Reclaim Biblical Teaching

"Gay cause leads in PCUSA voting"

The Christian Century offers its latest report on the PC(USA) process of voting on Amendment 10-A.

John Dart comments on the current voting process:

Presbyterians on both sides of the issue have despaired over the seemingly unending debates on the issue at the national and local levels of the Louisville, Kentucky-based denomination.

While some conservative "renewal" groups have worked to maintain what they describe as biblically based Christian standards, some congregations and church members have left the PCUSA to link up with the conservative Presbyterian Church in America, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church or independent congregations.

In recent months, members of a new group, tentatively named the Fellowship and led by pastors opposed to gay clergy and to liberal social and theological views, have talked about enlisting "like-minded" Presbyterians to leave behind the "rancorous, draining internal disputes that paralyze our common life and ministry" and form a fellowship focused on missions reflecting "classic biblical, Reformed/evangelical traditions."

A comment from your WebWeaver:

The headline over this story is from the Christian Century. We would prefer to see this label not as “the gay cause,” but as the cause of justice, or inclusive, or integrity in the church. The effort to make inclusive ordination possible in the PC(USA) is not simply a “gay” issue – by a long shot!

For the whole story >>
One more shift for justice in the voting on Amendment 10-A   [3-4-11]

Mission Presbytery flipped for justice today! This presbytery in the heart of Texas voted 201-194-1 to approve Amendment A improving our score to 58-44 and adding to the number of presbyteries that have flipped from no to YES for a more just and inclusive church.

Voting tomorrow (Saturday, March 5): Geneva, Grace, Northern New England, Ohio Valley

Tuesday, March 8: Eastminster, New Brunswick (unless they vote to delay), Transylvania

Thursday, March 10: Abingdon

Thanks to John Shuck, sole proprietor of the Shuck and Jive blog, and to Tricia Dykers Koenig, of Covenant Network.

10-A voting on Saturday, February 26, 2011

John Shuck has put together the first report I’ve seen about presbytery voting this weekend on Amendment 10-A, to open ordination to LGBT Presbyterians:

So far eleven presbyteries have voted this week:

Three FLIPPED from no to YES:

bulletSacramento 80-76
bulletCentral Nebraska 36-16
bulletIndian Nations 45-41

Four held on to their previous YES:

bulletEast Tennessee 71-63
bulletMackinac 44-30
bulletSanta Fe 101-17-1
bulletTres Rios 35-32

Five held on to their previous NO:

bulletTampa Bay 91-120
bulletNortheast Georgia 75-87 (but with big improvement!)
bulletSouth Dakota 32-49
bulletWestern Colorado 13-29
bulletFlint River 26-54
bulletYukon 21-38

None switched from YES to no this week!

The unofficial score according to MLP is 55-40 in favor of Amendment A!

Where are we so far?
The big news: twelve flips from no to YES so far.
One flipped the other way.
But we only need nine net flips to win.
We are in good shape with tough votes to come.
We have to hold every yes and work to flip some more nos!


From Mackinac Presbytery, Moderator Steve Hammond reports that 10-A passed by a vote of 44-30. [That was little changed from the vote 2 years ago.] He adds that it was “a collegial gathering and civility on all sides [was] observed.”

More Light Presbyterian Board issues statement on Amendment 10-A     [2-22-11]

We stand at the half way point in the presbyteries’ voting on proposed Amendment 10-A, which would return the church to our historically Presbyterian way of calling church officers. In true Reformed tradition, faithful Presbyterians throughout the church have been advocating passionately to affirm the inalienable right of governing bodies to elect their own officers.

We are very hopeful that this will be the year that the church acts to unbind the Holy Spirit and open the door to ordination for those qualified and called to serve. We rejoice in this positive momentum and give thanks for all those who have labored to change hearts and minds, and for those presbyteries that have come to understand that the conflict created in our church by the present G-6.0106 b. is intolerably hurtful to our denomination.

We encourage and welcome the support of all in the ratification of 10-A, confirming our commitment to work faithfully together, acknowledging our oneness in Christ, and our common call to reconciliation.

Adopted by the National MLP Board of Directors on 2/21/2011 in Kansas City, Missouri

Follow the vote, or inquire about getting involved at

More movement toward an inclusive church!

Here are the results from the 10 presbyteries voting on Amendment 10-A today:  

5 continued their support, voting to approve both 08-B and 10-A

bulletArkansas, 120-42, widening their margin to nearly 3-to-1
bulletNew Hope, 158-118, also a strong showing
bulletJohn Knox, 60-19, crossing the 75% threshold
bulletNorthern Waters, 39-14, solid but with fewer numbers than last round
bulletGreater Atlanta, 262-157-5, transforming a 10-vote margin on 08-B to over 100 on 10-A!

3 remained in the 'no' column

bulletPines, 36-44
bulletLake Erie, also 36-44 and a significant improvement
bulletPalo Duro, 35-50

2 switched to support!!

bulletSouth Alabama, 34-33
bulletNorth Alabama, 36-28

Initial reports from both Lake Erie and North Alabama mentioned several speakers witnessing to their change of mind - some that even surprised the organizers!  

The presbytery tally now stands at 46 approving, 34 failing to approve, and over 55% of individual presbyters voting in favor of the change.

The presbytery voting now stands at 46-34 with eight net shifts from opposing to supporting an inclusive church. Ninety-three presbyteries have yet to vote.

So it’s not a done deal! For passage of Amendment 10-A, a net of one more presbytery must shift to supporting the amendment. But that means continued efforts to help brother and sister presbyters see the virtue (yes, virtue!) in moving toward an open and welcoming church, with an inclusive ministry and elder leadership. It means continued efforts to get out the vote. (Did you notice that South Alabama approved 10-A by 1 vote?

So there is still work to be done! But we say a warm word of thanks to all who have brought us this far.

Presbyteries voting this week include:

bulletTuesday, Detroit and Wabash Valley
bulletTuesday or Wednesday, Western Colorado
bulletFriday, South Dakota (postponed from Monday due to snow) and Tres Rios
bulletFriday or Saturday, Yukon


Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer and to indefatigable blogger (and minister) John Shuck. And lots of other good people as well.

For vote charts:

bullet More Light Vote  
bullet Covenant Network
bullet John McCrosky

If you have news to add
- perhaps details from one of the presbytery meetings --
or opinions to offer,
please just send a note,
and we'll share it here.

Savannah Presbytery shifts to support 10-A

Presbytery actions so far:  39 for, 31 against

By 40 to 33, the Presbytery of Savannah voted today to support Amendment 10-A, which would definitively open the Presbyterian Church to the possibility of ordaining gay and lesbian persons, shifting from their past opposition to such a change.

This followed actions by two presbyteries yesterday:

Hudson River Presbytery approved the change by a pretty convincing margin: 81 to 6.  And Olympia Presbytery remained in the No column, by a vote of 39-78, which was narrower than in past votes.

That puts the presbytery tally at 39-31, with a net gain of 6 out of the needed 9 new supportive presbyteries.  

Presbyteries voting tomorrow (Saturday, February 19) are Arkansas, Greater Atlanta, John Knox, Lake Erie, New Hope, North Alabama, Northern Waters, Palo Duro, Pines, South Alabama.

And on Monday, South Dakota Presbytery will vote.

Thanks again to the Rev. John Shuck and Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer  .

More on Amendment 10-A >>

Yesterday’s voting on Amendment 10-A

Two presbyteries took action yesterday on 10-A:

Hudson River Presbytery approved the change by a pretty convincing margin: 81 to 6.

Olympia Presbytery remained in the No column, by a vote of 39-78, which was narrower than in past votes.

Thus the current tally shows 38 to 31 in favor of 10-A, with more than 54% of presbyters approving.

Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network

Voting on inclusive ordination is running in favor of the change

As of this morning, voting by presbyteries on Amendment A was 37 for, and 30 against. That in itself is good news, and holds promise for the long-awaited change to make our denomination more open, more welcoming, more just. A net shift of four more presbyteries (there have been five so far) would put this historic change into effect.

Sorry for my poor arithmetic that led me to say a shift of nine more presbyteries is needed - it's just four!  Your numerically challenged WebWeaver.  And thanks to Tim Leadingham for catching this.

A few highlights of recent presbytery actions:

So far the six presbyteries that have shifted from No to Yes on inclusive ordination are Eastern Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Riverside, St. Augustine, Eastern Virginia and Blackhawk.

Over the past few days, other presbyteries have continued, and generally increased, their support for inclusive ordination:

Southern New England, 89-41
Susquehanna Valley, 50-22-2
Winnebago, in a hand vote
Heartland, 109-59-1
Giddings-Lovejoy, 100-38
and Miami Valley, 58-36-4, after voting down a substitute motion to take no action on the amendment (which would have had the effect of a 'no')

In Tuesday’s voting, three presbyteries continued their strong support:

Maumee Valley approved 67-39, extending the margin compared to 08-B/
Scioto Valley voted 118-65-2.
Chicago's tally was 185-61-1, another strong affirmation with 75% of the vote.

These presbyteries failed to approve, but by much reduced margins in most:

Inland Northwest, the exception with 44-74 (compared to 44-76 on 08-B)
Trinity, 63-80 (on 08-B, 48-106-2)
Mid-South, 48-49! (on 08-B, 31-67)
Glacier, where we do not have a count but this report: "I don't know the final vote, it was not mentioned, but I know we missed by four votes. I also know 5 people who would have voted in the affirmative, but were unable to make presbytery due to the weather." The Glacier count on 08-B was 7-28.

Tricia Dykers Koenig, of Covenant Network, adds this important suggestion, from Gregg Rabenold, who was a commissioner to the 219th from Cincinnati, about their meeting earlier this week:

We are very excited that 10-A passed in Cincinnati. I think we had a good mix of people that got up to speak (several new people) and I think there was good organization of getting the necessary people out for the vote.

If I had to do it over again, I would have liked to see one person from our side hit the biblical interpretation issue. This seems to be the main argument for the other side and no one from our side offered arguments against this aspect. Not that anyone will change their interpretive view on the spot, but it is always good to plant seeds for future growth. [TDK note: Many undecided or wavering people need "permission from God" to do what their instincts tell them about how Christians treat each other. If we ignore Scripture, our position can seem illegitimate to them.]

I think the most important thing is to get the right people there to vote. I don't know if any votes are swayed by the arguments of the day.

With that said, I did get up to speak and my arguments were as follows:

1. Talked about my gay son briefly and mentioned my concern that he would not be able to get the blessings from serving the church as I have.

2. Talked about this being a divisive issue where many of us will never agree.

3. Pointed to the language of the amendment, stating that this language was a great compromise for us to agree to disagree. That the language does not promote or encourage homosexuality.

Presbyteries scheduled to vote on Thursday: Hudson River, Olympia; Friday: Savannah, South Alabama.

I’ll close by echoing what so many others are saying: We all need to do whatever we can to improve the hope that we all share for a just and welcoming church, by calling friends and colleagues, offering rides, preparing short, clear affirmations of why this change is a good thing for all of us, and getting out the vote.

by Doug King -- with thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig,
John Shuck, and others.

For more information:

bullet Covenant Network statistical report >>
bullet More Light Presbyterians Facebook updates >>
bullet MLP statistical report >>
bullet Covenant Network resources on 10-A >>
bullet John Shuck’s blog, Shuck and Jive >>
bulletAND our own page for 10-A discussions and reports >>
More on the ratification of Amendment 10-A


The Rev. Ray Bagnuolo has posted more thoughts – and deep ones – on the continuing debate in our presbyteries about Amendment 10-A, which would make our ordination standards fully inclusive of LGBT Presbyterians.

First, his own thoughts, making clear than the issue is “more than the ratification of 10-A.”  We are confronted, he says, with a far broader and deeper question: How do we understand and live out God’s love?

He concludes with these “questions for final consideration in voting for ratification” --

a) Can we be faithful by excluding our baptized sisters and brothers who are LGBT from the full work and worship of the PC(USA)? Is ours a God who excludes those God has created?

b) Can we be faithful to the teachings of Jesus and the Church by fostering a climate of violence towards our LGBT sisters and brothers, affirming others’ hatred and homophobia with our decisions to marginalize?

c) Can we be a faithful reflection of God as Love by using our Constitution or fears to create a class of people less welcome or worthy than others?

Were that this was simply a matter of making a decision about loving one another as God loves us. It may be that such love is still growing in us, but with a decision to ratify Amendment 10-A, it may be much closer than we think in leading us to the family and witness we are meant to be.   More >>

Ray Bagnuolo is an openly gay minister of Word and Sacrament, currently serving Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House and its inner city ministry in NYC. He also serves on the Board of More Light Presbyterians.

Also:  "The Corrosive and Distorting Power of the Closet" 

Ray has also posted a provocative piece by Karen Kavey, "The Corrosive and Distorting Power of the Closet"  written in response to Ray’s YouTube posting  in the “It Gets Better” collection that followed the rash of teen suicides a few months ago.

Karen writes “about the corrosive and distorting power of the Closet. As you know, the "Closet" is a metaphor used to describe how people hide important parts of themselves, typically their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

She goes on to describe the changes going on in our own time:

For the Closet's existence is based on powerful manipulation; BUT it is also a means of control that is diminishing in the world at an increasingly rapid pace.

It is breaking apart in a seemingly sudden way. And as it fades, it releases its relentless grip on all of us: gay and straight, open or not, conservative or liberal or in-between.

For we have ALL been influenced by the Closet, as it has distorted our view of the world and of each other.

As the Closet crumbles, we will see how this change will affect our lives, our denomination and the lives of the younger generations who will, we hope, live in a world without it. ...

Elie Weisel has stated so clearly: "Silence never helps the oppressed. Only the oppressor."

Understanding the basic fact that most people are heterosexual and some people are not will be a necessary part of the way forward. Without the distortion of the Closet, this fact is becoming more apparent with each passing day.   More >>

Karen identifies herself as “Karen Ellen Kavey, Non-ruling Elder, PC(USA), Confirmed May, 1958.”

Evangelical Arlo Duba explains why he has changed his mind on the question of ordination


As a way of furthering conversation in our presbyteries about the proposed Amendment 10-A, which would give clear permission for the ordination of lgbt Presbyterians, More Light Presbyterians is placing an ad in Presbyterian Outlook. In the ad, the Rev. Dr. Arlo D. Duba, former Director of Admissions & Director of Chapel, at Princeton Theological Seminary, and former Dean at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and a committed evangelical, explains why he has changed his mind on the question of ordination.

We encourage you to read his brief statement in the ad, then look at his further discussion in an interview.

MLP also provides a web page through which you can share your own thoughts with Dr. Duba.

We encourage you to consider this fine example of our church “reformed and always being reformed,” and to share Dr. Duba’s thoughts with colleagues in your presbytery who may be concerned about some of the same questions that he has dealt with.

Amendment 10-A

Here's a short introduction to the Assembly’s action to improve ordination standards

One of the most important actions of the 219th General Assembly was to approve again, as in 2008, an overture that would amend the so-called “fidelity and chastity clause” of the Book of Order (G-6.0106b).

Some observers were surprised at the relatively narrow margin of the vote (373-323-4), since the Church Orders and Ministry committee had approved the change by a vote of 36-16-1 – with 67% supporting, compared to just 53% voting for the change in the plenary session. This difference may reflect the fact that committee members had devoted much more study and reflection to the issue, and so were more able to come to a position that was more open to change.

According to the overture, candidates are to be examined by presbyteries (for ministers) or sessions (for elders and deacons) based on calling, gifts, preparation and suitability. Governing bodies, guided by Scripture and the confessions, would also determine candidates’ ability and commitment to fulfilling requirements stated in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation.

Speaking in favor of the overture, the Rev. John Vest (Presbytery of Chicago) said the PC(USA) must change its Constitution to move forward. The overture does more than just remove language – it adds language that is just and constitutional, he said. Ordination examinations should be “vigorous and robust.”

The Rev. William Reid Dalton III (Salem Presbytery), among others, opposed the overture, saying that with the GA’s approval of the Belhar Confession and the new Form of Government, presbyteries already have much to discuss.

The assembly rejected a minority report from the Church Orders and Ministry Committee, which called for a pastoral letter to be sent to sessions and for the reversal of the authoritative interpretation issued at the 218th GA (2008).

At a press conference following the assembly’s vote, committee moderator elder Theresa Denton said she’d like conversations about ordination standards to be about trust rather than fear or anxiety. She said she doesn’t see the proposed amendment as a move toward lowered standards, but toward increasingly higher ones that look at the totality of a candidate’s life.

Michael Adee, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, commented that in striking down the celibacy requirement, the Assembly adopted “one standard for all.” “Instead of looking at one’s marital status or sexual orientation or gender identity, it’s about a person’s life, faith, and character,” he said.

Heather Grantham, a seminarian at San Francisco Theological Seminary, considers the new ordination standard “a better and higher standard,” adding, “It’s a step forward on all fronts, whether gay or straight,” so now, “it’s not all about sex.” Grantham, who attended General Assembly both as a young adult advisory delegate and as a theological student advisory delegate, also serves as family ministry director for the Noe Valley Ministry Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, which is a More Light congregation.

Lisa Larges, the minister coordinator for That All May Freely Serve, said that approval by the presbyteries can’t be taken for granted. “One of the things we’ve talked about is that the presbyteries won’t talk about it if they are not forced to. So this forces us to have the conversation [about ordination equality] one more time.”

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians issued a statement saying it “is grateful that the 219th General Assembly voted to continue the progress made by the last two General Assemblies toward a more gracious and welcoming church.” They added, “We have seen steady movement toward acceptance of God-given gifts for congregational leadership and service. We will work to help presbyteries continue this progress.”

The full text of the current standard, in G-6.0106b, states:

Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.

The proposed new standard reads:

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.

For this proposed amendment, as it is being sent to the presbyteries by the Office of the General Assembly, with the Background and Rationale from The Presbytery of the Western Reserve, Click here, and see pages 1 - 2.

For the full GA committee report, click here.

Below you will find:

Resources from ...

bulletMore Light Presbyterians (including frequently asked questions on Amendment 10A)
bulletCovenant Network (including Ten Reasons the PC(USA) Needs Amendment 10-A)
bullet That All May Freely Serve (seeking videos of real-life questions)

Conversations about the actions on Amendment 10-A (needing your contributions!)

Reports on discernment, debate, and voting in the presbyteries


The “MLP Resource Kit” includes links to many documents from GA and other sources.

This page provides a wide ranges of materials, and we can only urge you to look through the list for those that might meet your needs.

One older but very helpful collection is the “Yes On 08-B” packet prepared for presbytery debates on a similar amendment from the 2008 General Assembly. Click here to download the 40-page document.

Here's one very helpful summary, from MLP:

FAQ on Ordination Amendment 10-A

1. What does the revised text actually say?

By a vote of 54% to 46% the 219th GA sends to the presbyteries the following amendment to the Form of Government:

To replace the present text of G-6-0106b with this:

G-6.0106b. Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003) pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate's sincere efforts to adhere to these standards.

2. Why is this text better than the paragraph it replaces?

This revision better reflects our Presbyterian traditions. This amendment restores constitutional language to the standards for ordination. It places its emphasis on the vows every officer must take as he/she is ordained and/or installed. It rightly places the responsibility for determining fitness for office on the examining governing body.

This revision is better theologically. The revised text puts the focus exactly where it should be – on Jesus, the Scriptures, and the Confessions – the essential values at the center of our theological tradition. Since all of us, all the time, sin and fall short of God's glory, it should remain with the governing and the electing bodies to make the judgment with grace and faithfulness to Scripture and the Constitution, of any potential officer's character and gifts for office.

This revision therefore represents a higher standard for ordained office, since it broadly includes all aspects of character and qualification for candidates for the offices of Deacon, Elder, and Minister of Word and Sacrament.

3. How might this amendment bring the church together again?

This amendment represents a compromise that restores traditional Reformed understandings of ordination standards that should be acceptable to most Presbyterians. Properly understood, this amendment should enable our church to lay aside our conflicts and to move forward in mission and growth.

4. When will this vote take place?

Each presbytery will vote on the Amendment 10-A according to a schedule determined by the Council of that presbytery. The 219th General Assembly strongly encouraged every presbytery to develop a process of discernment and prayer before any vote is taken. The Stated Clerk of the PCUSA has asked that all votes by taken by mid-May, 2009, so that printing of the Book of Order may proceed in a timely fashion. Contact your Stated Clerk or Council to find out what the schedule is. Try to encourage a reconciling process and a secret ballot on the amendment at a meeting most convenient for elder commissioners.

5. Will churches and presbyteries still be able to elect the officers they want?

Yes. In the Reformed tradition the election of church officers, Deacons, Elders and Ministers of Word and Sacrament, belongs to the body in which they will serve. The examination of those elected must be carried out by the governing body that has responsibility for election. No church officer may be placed in a permanent position without the consent of the people.

6. How can this process be made more reconciling and positive?

The 219th General Assembly strongly encouraged all presbyteries to develop a process for prayer and discernment leading to this vote. To help your presbytery prepare for a constructive, reconciling and positive ratification, see the resources listed above.

Volunteer to help ratify Amendment 10-A in your Presbytery!

Send an e-mail to our Rev. Debra Peevey, our Campaign Outreach Director, at  Kindly include your name, contact info, and which Presbytery you are in. We're looking forward to hearing from you!


The Covenant Network also provides many very good resources

What It Does and Doesn't Do -- just a bit of clarification about Amendment 10-A.

Affirmations sets forth very briefly the basic tenets of our basic Reformed, showing gently but clearly how Amendment 10-A would be deeply faithful to our tradition.

10 Reasons to Support gives an excellent, brief outline of the reasons why approving this change will be a great gift to the PC(USA). [see full text below]

Catholicity, Inclusivity, and the 'Protest-ant' Charism, by Ken Cuthbertson, a gay minister in Albuquerque, NM, explores the ways in which “the challenges to Tradition and Institution posed by those who ‘protest” [for more open and inclusive ordination] are a true gift and charism, ever urging the Church onward to a broader deeper catholicity.”


A very useful set of short papers by Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network’s National Organizer, each one answering from a particular angle the question of “why make this change?”:

Because of the People views the proposed change in terms to the human gifts and sufferings of people whom God loves.

Because of Scripture and Theology walks us through the deeply Biblical reasons for making this change, while answering some of the supposedly Biblical arguments against it.

Because of Presbyterian Polity shows how replacing the old G-6.0106b would bring our church much more into harmony with our basic polity and understanding of the Church.

Because of the Church shows how “Amendment 10-A will free the church for mission, both evangelism and social justice, by eliminating official policy that has contributed to the impression of the unchurched that Christians have forgotten to follow Jesus, and by allowing the PCUSA to move beyond this argument.”

How It Differs describes briefly how Amendment 10-A differs from (and is an improvement over) Amendment 08-B which was narrowly rejected by the presbyteries two years ago.


Ten Reasons the PC(USA) Needs Amendment 10-A

Proposed Amendment 10-A would replace the current language of G-6.0106b with the following:

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.

1.         Amendment 10-A focuses on potential officers’ desire to serve and follow Jesus Christ. (The current G-6.0106b doesn’t even mention Christ.)

2.         The proposed amendment sets a high standard for all church officers; it does not single out one group of church members for special scrutiny and exclusion.

3.         Amendment 10-A assumes careful and prayerful examination of all candidates for church office – considering their “calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability . . . and commitment to fulfill all requirements” as well as the examining body’s understanding of Scripture and the confessions.

4.         The new language focuses attention on candidates’ whole manner of life and faith, not solely on their sexuality (which is one aspect among many of faithful living).

5.         Amendment 10-A does not privilege one disputed interpretation of Scripture with respect to same-gender relationships over all others; it maintains “freedom of conscience with respect to the interpretation of Scripture” (G-6.0108). The current G-6.0106b forces half the church to follow an interpretation that violates their conscience.

6.         The new amendment would replace a standard that is impossible to apply honestly. If we genuinely excluded everyone who persists in “any practice which the confessions call sin,” we would have no deacons, elders, or ministers at all.

7.         The proposed amendment returns us to the core Presbyterian principle that national standards are interpreted and applied to individual candidates by local governing bodies – people who actually know the candidate and ministry. No presbytery or session would be required to ordain a candidate of whom they disapprove; and no presbytery or session would be prohibited from calling an officer with whom they wish to serve.

8.         Amendment 10-A honors the time-honored Presbyterian practice of maintaining unity by respecting freedom of conscience in the interpretation of Scripture and offering one another mutual forbearance in non-essential matters.

9.         Passing Amendment 10-A this year will mean we do not need to debate this issue again next year, or the next. Our current law, which excludes significant parts of our body and offends the conscience of many more, is unsustainable. This question will come before every G.A. until we find a way to live together that acknowledges the value of every church member.

10.       Passing Amendment 10-A would allow the church to focus on other essential mission, and present a far more winsome witness to the world. The church does not need or assume uniformity of views; it does need common discipleship and commitment to serving our Lord.

A new resource on Amendment 10-A -- arguments for and against

The Revs. Doug Hagler and Aric Clark have completed an LGBTQ Ordination Resource that they hope to distribute to every presbytery for the upcoming debates on 10-A. It is a 4page document responding to common arguments against LGBTQ inclusion and making our own in favor.

Clark writes:

We aimed to be comprehensive (though not exhaustive) in a pithy, quick and dirty and to the point kind of way. We have included many people in the editing process to help cover our blind spots. We hope we have produced something useful to complement the other resources out there.

We hope you will read this reflect on it and share it with friends. The most important help you can give us though, is helping us distribute this. ...

We have created two layouts of the document for ease of use. One is a half-fold booklet format. The other is a full-page portrait format. In the coming weeks we will be doing a detailed breakdown of the arguments at with citations to support every point, so this resource will only grow and improve over time.

Here is hoping we are in a more just and inclusive church in the near future.

Doug Hagler & Aric Clark

That All May Freely Serve seeks real-life videos for their 173 TV project


TAMFS has announced a contest, inviting people to tell their stories to the elders and ministers who will be voting in their presbyteries on Amendment 10-A. The group is asking people to talk about questions like these:

bulletWhat would you tell these people [before they vote]?
bulletWhat story of hope would you offer?
bulletIf you’ve left the church, because of its prejudice and fear, what would make you come back?
bulletIf you feel called to serve the church, what are your dreams?
bulletWhat would a welcoming, vibrant, revitalized, relevant church be like?
bulletWhat’s the message you would share to help those voters gain a new perspective?

A very interesting challenge! We will try to bring you the results as soon as they are made public.

Click here for details >>

For information on submitting your entry, contact Sonnie at


Please join in with your own views, resources, suggestions, questions!

Just send a note, and we'll share it here.

Reports on Presbytery Actions
See the MLP table of voting reports

More voting this weekend on Amendment 10-A   [2-25-11]

So far, no big changes

This comes from John Shuck, on his Shuck and Jive blog, with the first results added by your WebWeaver:

Thousands of Presbyterians will be discussing, debating, and hopefully voting YES on Amendment A this weekend. I have been scouting about places like this, this, and that and have learned the names of the presbyteries who will be voting this weekend.

Here are the ones that voted YES last time and need to vote YES again:

bulletEast Tennessee
bulletSanta Fe
bulletTres Rios – Voted today, 35 to 32 in favor of 10-A

And those that voted NO last time and could use a good flip:

bulletCentral Nebraska
bulletCentral Washington
bulletFlint River
bulletIndian Nations
bulletNortheast Georgia
bulletSan Fernando
bulletSouth Dakota – Voted today, 32 - 49 against.
bulletTampa Bay
bulletWestern Colorado – Voted today, 13 - 29 against, with the “Yes” votes losing a bit of ground compared to two years ago.

This will be a challenging weekend. A few of these NOs could definitely flip and so an encouraging phone call would be most helpful!

Blessed Be.

Posted By John Shuck to Shuck and Jive at 2/23/2011 10:50:00 PM

Amendment A By Bullet Point


Thanks to John Shuck, who has posted this neat update on the voting, on his blog, Shuck and Jive

bullet A number of presbyteries voted on Amendment A today. 
bullet It appears that none of them switched from their 2008 vote.
bullet Here is a handy little chart.
bullet And a chart with a bit more detail.
bullet The score is 34 yes to 29 no.
bullet The amendment needs 87 affirmative votes to pass. Ties count as a no.
bullet 53 more presbyteries need to vote yes for "A" to pass.
bullet 110 presbyteries yet to vote altogether.
bullet Of those 110, 49 voted yes in 2008.
bullet We need 9 presbyteries who voted 'no' or 'tie' in 2008 to flip to yes.
bullet We have had 6 flips so far.
bullet 1 backward flip.
bullet That means 5 net flips so far.
bullet We need 4 more "net flips".
bullet There are easily 15 presbyteries that can potentially flip for justice.
bullet There are even more presbyteries that can go the other way too.
bullet We need to work hard in every presbytery.
bullet We celebrate every YES!
bullet And take nothing for granted.
bullet Those are your bullet points for today. : )


On Tuesday, Feb. 8, these votes were reported by Tricia Dykers-Koenig

bulletCimarron, a presbytery that was an 08-B switch, held on strong at 19-9
bulletRedwoods, a consistently supportive presbytery, voted yes in a standing vote
bulletBlackhawk approved by 66-46 after voting against 08-B
bulletCincinnati approved by 99-72-3 after tying on 08-B.
10-A voting on January 29, 2011

One more presbytery shifts to support inclusion and justice    [1-29-11]

Of the five presbyteries voting today on Amendment 10-A, which would remove the strictures against ordination of people in same-sex relationships, Riverside Presbytery was the only one to switch from its 08-B outcome - a very welcome 58-45-2 in favor of inclusive ordination.!

The other results:

Long Island continued its consistent support on a voice vote.

Western North Carolina, the first presbytery to switch to support in the Amendment 08-B round, registered another strong yes at 145-99.

Sierra Blanca, while failing to approve 10-A, 19-28, reported a respectful process and some strong testimony.

Huntingdon came breathtakingly close, 32-33.

So the over-all vote of the presbyteries so far is 20 in favor of the amendment, and 23 opposed. It’s closer than two years ago, but much more work and study and prayer will be needed to reach the change that we have sought for so long!

Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer, for this quick report.

For more detailed vote counts, go to the Covenant Network chart, or the one being provided by More Light Presbyterians.

For lots more good information and news from MLP >>
... and from Covenant Network >>

News flash:  Latest voting on Amendment 10-A

One more presbytery shifts to support equality in ordination    [1-22-11]

This report (somewhat edited) comes primarily from the Rev. John Shuck, with additional information from Tricia Dykers Koenig of Covenant Network.

A good day of voting on Amendment 10-A, which would remove the effective "don't ask don't tell" policy from the PC(USA). Eight presbyteries voted – six yes and one no and one yet to report.

The story is Eastern Virginia. This presbytery had voted against equality in 2008-9 and flipped for justice this time around. The other yeses had been yeses last time and the one no had been a no. The one we have yet to hear from was a strong no in 2008-9. So we had a net gain of one presbytery.

Thank you and very nice work in all the presbyteries, especially Eastern Virginia!

Yes votes:

bulletEastern Virginia 87-69 (shifting from a no vote in 2009)
bulletGenessee Valley 85-29
bullet Cayuga-Syracuse (a voice vote, with perhaps just a couple no votes)
bulletElizabeth 63-46
bulletMid-Kentucky 99-9
bulletSan Jose 78-57

No votes:

bullet Beaver-Butler 27-73
bulletUpper Ohio Valley (vote count not yet known)

The overall score is 15 yes and 19 no with 87 being the magic number to make a huge difference in ending discrimination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

For updates follow Covenant Network  and More Light Presbyterians, and see the voting chart provided by MLP.

Presbytery voting on 10-A continues  [12-8-10]

In meetings on Tuesday, one presbytery switches from No to Yes on LGBT ordination, and one goes the other way

Four presbyteries held their votes on Amendment 10-A, to permit LGBT candidates to be considered for ordination.

The Presbytery of Eastern Oklahoma was the first that had voted 'no' on ordination in 2008, to vote 'yes' on 10-A. The vote was 55-53, following a recount when the first reported tally totaled more votes than presbyters present. In 2008, the vote was 49-56, rejecting ordination.

In the presbyteries of Holston and Central Florida, which both experienced lopsided votes against 08-B, support increased significantly for 10-A. John Shuck has posted a report on the voting in Holston Presbytery.

But one presbytery shifted its vote from supporting ordination in 2008, to rejecting it this year. Lake Huron, which had voted in favor of 08-B, couldn't maintain that support for 10-A. Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer, adds these important suggestions (slightly condensed here):

We have never assumed that the presbyteries that switched in favor of 08-B would stay that way for 10-A, and today's roller-coaster is a dramatic illustration of how important it is for us to take nothing for granted.

So, if your presbytery has yet to consider 10-A (that's most of us), please find out your vote date now! I have a report on most of them, so you can ask me, and either learn it from me or learn that you need to call the presbytery office and then report back to me.

Send a 'save the date' message to other supporters in your presbytery now! Even if your presbytery is voting in May or June, it's not too early to urge people to clear their calendars.

Arrange a gathering of supporters to begin talking about what will be most effective in getting out the vote, and in making the pro-10-A case, in your context. For most presbyteries, you'll want to schedule the meeting for after the holidays, but you don't want to wait till then to pick a date and send invitations.

Write letters to the editor of The Outlook, blog entries, comments on our website, etc.

Contact your friends in other presbyteries and talk to them about why 10-A is important to you and to the PCUSA.

Reach out to those who disagree.

Continue to pray.

Advent blessings,


Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer

For vote tallies:

bullet More Light Presbyterians >>
bullet Covenant Network >>

Total Presbytery votes so far, on 10-A:
Yes     6
No       17
Presbyteries that have yet to vote:  151

Two more presbyteries approve 10-A.  Others, still rejecting it, do so by shrinking margins     [11-17-10]

Albany increased its traditionally strong support for inclusiveness with a tally of 83-15-4, up from 78-25-2 on 08-B. Despite ample opportunity, there was no debate.

The Palisades (New Jersey) tallied 32-14, also a larger margin of approval than last time (35-20-2), with minimal debate.

San Diego Presbytery was the leader in sending an overture to the 2010 GA to reverse the gains of the 2008 GA. They also saw an increase in support, at 21-66 versus 17-74.

The margin in Redstone (Western Pennsylvania) was essentially unchanged: 38-68, compared to 46-75.

But Cherokee (Northwest Georgia) saw an astounding improvement: 49-62, as opposed to 24-79 for 08-B.

Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer

Two more presbyteries reject Amendment 10-A

MLP reports that on Wednesday, Nov. 10, two more presbyteries refused to approve Amendment 10-A, which would remove the explicit ban on ordination of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Santa Barbara Presbytery, arguably one of the most conservative in the denomination, voted 25 for, 69 against. But two years ago their vote was 20 to 85 – so perhaps there’s a little shift there. And Shenandoah Presbytery voted 93 to 106 against the change, with the margin a bit narrower than two years ago, when it was 82 to 112.

Click here for the MLP listing of presbytery actions >>

Boston Presbytery approves Amendment 10-A

More Light Presbyterians is maintaining a table with the results of voting on 10-A in the presbyteries.

On November 1, the Presbytery of Boston became the first to approve Amendment 10-1, by a vote of 53-30. Boston, which sent the overture originating Amendment 08-B in 2008, had approved that version by 54-42.   [Thanks to Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer, for this report.]

So far three presbyteries (Alaska, voting 9 for, 20 against, and 2 abstentions; Mississippi, 11 for and 47 against; The Presbytery of the James, 152 to 152, with a tie vote meaning the motion was defeated) have voted to reject the amendment. This follows the pattern of recent years, in which a number of conservative presbyteries have apparently chosen to vote early, with the hope of setting an example for others.

For details on each vote, go to the MLP table and click on the link for each presbytery reporting.

Reports on Presbytery Actions


At least two presbyteries have already voted on Amendment 10-A. If you want to follow the voting as it proceeds over the next few months, these reports may be helpful.

These two reports come from the MLP vote tally:

The Presbytery of The James voted today on Amendment 10-A and it was a tie, 152 to 152. A tie means that Amendment 10-A was not ratified by the Presbytery. The good news is that during the Amendment 08-B campaign, the vote was 130-190.

On October 15, 2010 the Presbytery of Alaska failed to ratify Amendment 10-A by a vote of 9 yes to 22 no with 2 abstentions. The Alaska vote for Amendment 08-B in 2009 was 12 yes to 21 no. 

More Light Presbyterians’ Amendment 10-A blog,  maintained by Bruce Hahne, has a spreadsheet with voting results, which will be updated regularly. Each entry (at least so far!) includes a link to a more complete report from that presbytery.

Click here for the voting spreadsheet >>

So far, this is the only place we have found that appears planned to carry regularly updated voting reports. 

We welcome your reports on presbytery voting -- not just the numbers (though numbers matter) but any points of interest about the debate, and so on.  Just send a note, and we'll try to post it here.


Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

Mitch Trigger, PVJ's Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!

You can post your own news and views, or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.


John Shuck’s new "Religion for Life" website

Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck, a Presbyterian minister currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.

Click here for his blog posts.

Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."


John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in Flushing, NY.


Voices of Sophia blog

Heather Reichgott, who has created this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:

After fifteen years of scholarship and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy, students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and thoughtful community.


Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!


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