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Churches' response to homosexuality

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The Presbyterian Church (USA):
Over 3 decades (so far) of painful
conflict & evolution on gay ordination,
civil unions,
and same-sex marriage.

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On this web site the term "LGBT" refers to the Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual
, Transgender and Transsexual community.

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Note:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) [a.k.a. PCUSA] is a mainline Christian denomination in the U.S.

Its name is often confused with the Presbyterian Church in America [a.k.a. PCA]. The PCA is a smaller and much more conservative denomination. It split from the PCUSA decades ago because it could not tolerate the concept of female clergy. The PCA's beliefs and practices concerning lesbian, gay and bisexual ordination are discussed in a separate essay.

At the PCUSA's General Assembly in mid-2014, delegates voted to give the minister and session of each congregation the responsibility to decide whether or not to marry same-sex couples. This, of course, only applies to congregatons in states that have attained marriage equality by legalizing same-sex marriage.

The delegates also approved an amendment to the denomination's definition of marriage in their Book of Order. It recognized marriage by both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. The change was sent to the individual presbyteries for ratification. By 2015-MAR, the majority of presbyteries had approved of the amendment.

Within U.S. Presbyterian denominations:

  • A session is sometimes called a consistory or church board. It is a body of elected elders governing a local congregation.

  • A presbytery is an administrative body within the denomination including all the local congregations within a defined geographical area. There are often more than one presbytery in a state.

Topics about the Presbyterian Church (USA) covered in this section:

bullet Quotations. Overview of the PC(USA)

bullet Background: PCUSA schisms and mergers. Church membership. Recent conflicts. A survey. Paths forward.

bullet Statements on homosexuality, mainly by the PCUSA's General Assembly:
bullet1976 to 1999

bullet2000 to now

bullet
Past trials and other controversies:
bulletShower of Stoles project and the Women of Faith award.

bullet Church trials of Elder "Doug," Rev. Jane Spahr, Scott Anderson, and Laurie McNeill. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
 

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bullet Affirmation 2001, the new "Auburn Affirmation."

bullet
The three main sexual issues facing the denomination during the late 20th century and early 21st:
bullet 1978 to 2011: Ordination of gays lesbians in covenanted relationships (Settled)

bullet 1991 to 2003: Whether the denomination should recognize same-sex unions, committment ceremonies, and same-sex civil marriage: (Conflict left unresolved)

bullet

2008 to 2015: More develpments on commitment ceremonies, civil unions. Progress made on recognizing same-sex marriage:
Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  star Part 5


bullet Church responses to internal conservative / liberal stresses
 
bullet Presbyterian resources on gay/lesbian issues
 
bullet

Ebooks and printed books on various Christian approaches to gay/lesbian issues
 

bullet Within mainline denominations, is compromise possible, or is schism inevitable? An examination of the LGBT conflicts in various Christian denominations

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Sources of information:

bulletThe official home page of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is at: http://www.pcusa.org/

bulletThe Presbyterian Forum, a conservative renewal group, maintains a page of links to Presbyterian groups, both liberal and conservative. See: http://www.pforum.org/links.htm

Reference:

  1. "Presbyterians May Debate Gay Clergy Ban," The Associated Press, 2003-MAY-23. Online at: Beliefnet.com at: http://www.beliefnet.com/
  2. Rose French, "Presbyterians to allow gays to be ordained ministers," Associated Press, 2011-MAY-11, at: http://www.startribune.com/

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or Home page > Conflict > Homosexuality > Churches > here

Copyright © 1996 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update 2015-JUN-25
Author: B.A. Robinson
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