One Big Step for the PCUSA – Many Opinions

After many years of debate and movement toward change, this denomination has now reached the point at which it is certain that effective July 10, 2011, “a person in a same gender relationship can be considered for ordination as deacon, elder, or Minister of the Word and Sacrament.”  This news comes after many years of discussion and attempted change.

So What?

I grew up in a Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregation.  It was at First Presbyterian Church in Arlington, TX that I was confirmed, sensed a call to ministry, and spoke my first words from the pulpit as a teenager.  I returned to the church of my youth as a seminary student when I accepted a part time position at First Presbyterian Church in Duncanville, TX.  Later, I returned once more, after finishing my doctoral degree, to serve First Presbyterian Church in Naples, FL.  While I am no longer affiliated with the PCUSA, my faith journey has been greatly enriched by the years I spent within that denominational context.

While the current news cycle rightly is focusing on the PCUSA, the issue is far broader in scope.  The most recent denomination to enact a similar change was the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  (I spent several years serving at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Dallas, TX.)  While most  mainline denominations have made changes in recent years or are considering such, the United Church of Christ (UCC) did so a generation ago.  (I currently serve at Naples United Church of Christ in Naples, FL.)

For those wanting additional information, I recommend Rev. Robert Austell’s (PCUSA Minister of Word and Sacrament currently serving as Senior Pastor of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC ) growing list of resources covering the wide variety of responses to date.

  • What is your initial reaction to this change in the PCUSA?  How does your own denominational past influence your response?
  • Do think that the recent shifts in the ELCA and PCUSA will fuel reform in other mainline traditions over the next few years? Why or why not?
  • When is the last time your congregation had an open forum or adult educational class that discussed the requirements for ordained ministry?

Speak Your Mind

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