A churchwide letter concerning Amendment 10-A

May 10, 2011

Louisville

To congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

May grace, mercy, and peace be yours in abundance (Jude 1:2).

The debate about ordination standards has been a Presbyterian family struggle for much of the last three decades. We have sought to find that place where every congregation and every member, deacon, elder, and minister of the Word and Sacrament can share their gifts in ministry while, at the same time, the integrity of every congregation, member, deacon, elder, and minister is respected.

This year, the conversation has focused on Amendment 10-A that was passed by the 219th General Assembly (2010) and sent to presbyteries for approval.  While we wait for official tallies, it appears that 87 presbyteries will approve10-A during the week of May 9, which is the majority required for approval.

If this becomes official, the new language outlining the gifts and requirements for ordained service will say 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.

This decision begins with an unequivocal affirmation that ordained office will continue to be rooted in each deacon, elder, and minister’s “joyful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.”

This action also has important effects on our life together as a church, namely:

  • in keeping with our historic principles of church order, each session and presbytery will continue to determine the suitability of individuals seeking ordination within its bounds.
  • persons in a same-gender relationship may be considered for ordination and/or installation as deacons, elders, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament within the PC(USA); and
  • all other churchwide standards for ordination remain unchanged.

Reactions to this change will span a wide spectrum. Some will rejoice, while others will weep. Those who rejoice will see the change as an action, long in coming, that makes the PC(USA) an inclusive church that recognizes and receives the gifts for ministry of all those who feel called to ordained office. Those who weep will consider this change one that compromises biblical authority and acquiesces to present culture. The feelings on both sides run deep.

However, as Presbyterians, we believe that the only way we will find God’s will for the church is by seeking it together – worshiping, praying, thinking, and serving alongside one another. We are neighbors and colleagues, friends and family. Most importantly, we are all children of God, saved and taught by Jesus Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit.

We hold to the strong affirmation that all of us are bound together as the church through Jesus Christ our Lord. “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all,” Paul wrote to the Ephesians (4:5-6).

It is Jesus Christ who calls individuals to ordained ministries, and all those who are called to ordained office continue to acknowledge Jesus as Lord of all and Head of the church. It is this same Jesus Christ who is the foundation of our faith and to whom we cling.

No doubt, there will be several news stories and other reports about this change in the days ahead. A number of resources, including frequently asked questions and liturgical resources, are available for you at Office of the General Assembly website. In addition, for those who wish to comment on or inquire further about 10-A, please contact ga.amendments@pcusa.org or call (888) 728-7228, x8202.

We invite you to join us in prayer:

Almighty God, we give thanks for a rich heritage of faithful witnesses to the gospel throughout the ages. We offer gratitude not only for those who have gone before us, but for General Assembly commissioners and presbyters across the church who have sought diligently to discern the mind of Christ for the church in every time and place, and especially in this present time.

May your Spirit of peace be present with us in difficult decisions, especially where relationships are strained and the future is unclear. Open our ears and our hearts to listen to and hear those with whom we differ. Most of all, we give thanks for Jesus Christ, our risen Savior and Lord, who called the Church into being and who continues to call us to follow his example of loving our neighbor and working for the reconciliation of the world. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly 

Cynthia Bolbach
Moderator, 219th General Assembly (2010) 

Linda Valentine
Executive Director General Assembly Mission Council

Landon Whitsitt
Vice Moderator, 219th General Assembly (2010)

  1. When I was ordained as an Elder over 7 years ago, one of the first bit of advice given to me was, "What would Jesus do?" Jesus did not obey the standard Jewish customs as he "healed the sick on the Sabbath", nor did he mingle with only righteous people but made friends with tax collectors, harlots, and fishermen. He never really condemmed those around him and taught tolerance, love, and understanding. So it is with the Amendment 10-A. The decision to allow Gay clergy in the pulpit is up to the individual congregations decision. Do we want to have "Sex Police" following Pastors and Elders around? Frankly I don't think the Presbyterian Church should be overly concerned with private activites provided those activities do not reflect on the church in a negative manner. What is next should we concern ourselves with how one votes? I don't think so. We are a church with a history of change. We allowed "People of Color" to join, become part of the congregation, and we ordained women and opened up opportunities to all and the Church survived and thrived. This is not the time for knee jerk reactions, breaking up an institution that embodies the spirit of Christ and love for all. I for one will embrace the change, monitor its effect and encourage others to do the same. Our children will question the significance of concern in time and wonder what the big problem was. Understanding and tolerance are needed and of course continued prayer. Let's keep asking ourselves, "What would Jesus do?"

    by Bill Bender

    May 19, 2011

  2. How do we explain 1Thessalonians 4: 1-8 to a new believer trying to become mature, (perfect) NKJ, in Christ as admonished in Col. 1:28? Paul speaking to the brethren, "we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus "that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus." Paul goes on to speak about their sanctification, immorality, what it means to know God... (Read verses 3-7) Then in verse 8, "Therefore he who rejects this does not reject men, but God, "who has also given us his Holy Spirit... Joyful submission must include his calling... verse 7, "for God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness." When did we stop believing in the inerrancy of God's word? I guess slowly over the past 30 years... 2Timothy 3: 16-17 Let's all pray incessantly for our church...may God grant us wisdom in these last days.

    by Mark Humes

    May 17, 2011

  3. who will decide what a joyful submission to the Lord Jesus Christ in all areas of life will look like??

    by judith scheig

    May 17, 2011

  4. People do not choose to be female or male. Nor do they choose to be heterosexual or homosexual. If I read my Bible correctly, it says judge not that ye be not judged. Jesus said to love one another as the number one commandment. Is that so difficult? How can we believe in the peace of God and fight among ourselves as to whether another is truly following their Lord? God will lead when we open our hearts and listen to the small voice of the Spirit. But if we are shouting unclean, unclean, how can we hear?

    by Kathleen Sego

    May 16, 2011

  5. I am proud of my church! We are leaving bigotry behind. Young people recognize that we must include all. Now we older members must realize that it's time to move on and act with Christian acceptance of the differences of God's people. Once we used the Bible to exclude African Americans. Let's not use it to exclude this group.

    by Karen Menke

    May 16, 2011

  6. I am not disappointed, I am rejoicing. One thing that is important to point out is that in our presbyterian system, every commissioner gets a vote. That is what happened. So all of our churches sent pastors and elders to presbytery to vote on this. This is how our system and our polity works. What is breakthrough is that we listen to the spirit moving through all of us, day after day, year after year. Other denominations who have made similar moves have done it from the top down. We have done it from the bottom up. What we must do now is continue to read and study scripture to reveal the new meaning of it for us today. I do not think that this decision was made in an attempt to "bend" to society, but in an attempt to be true to the actual scriptures and to Jesus himself.

    by Emily

    May 16, 2011

  7. 2 Timothy 4: 1-4 NLT(I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.)

    by Tracy French, CLP, Presbytery of West Virginia

    May 16, 2011

  8. It appears that the book of Jude verses 3 -10 applies to this situation.

    by Bob Moors

    May 15, 2011

  9. For those that are glad that 10A passed PLEASE PLEASE tell me where in the Bible it says that homosexual relations or heterosexual relations outside marriage is ok. I can’t find anything which makes 10A so troubling to me. Please don't try to read anything in to the word. Just look up Leviticus 18 which God told Moses about sexual sin, Deuteronomy 5 which states "You shall not commit adultery.", and Matthew 5:27 Jesus speaks about adultery. The 3 passages I pointed out God and Jesus are setting the rules not PCUSA. Which side would you want to be on God’s or PCUSA? I choose God. There are much more Bible passages that plainly states what should not be done sexually. You don't have to interpret what the Bible is saying it is written plan and simple. So again for those who are rejoicing please show me some Bible passages that plainly state it is just fine for homosexual behavior or heterosexual sex outside of marriage. If you can’t find anything please pray about it. For those on either side of the issue please remember that God loves you and will forgive your sins no matter what they are, if you repent and ask. That is what is so Great about My God.

    by Carl Adams

    May 14, 2011

  10. I am thankful that we will now look at the totality of a person called to ministry rather than make a list of unacceptable behaviors as if it were not true that 'all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God'. Praise God!

    by Rev. Sarah Butler

    May 14, 2011

  11. Q.: Now that the “national standard” has been deleted, is there any practical restraint upon governing bodies? A.: Yes, there is restraint. There are rules. It would appear to me that the Constitution of the PCUSA is a very practical and complete restraint. See Question 139 of The Larger Catechism for details. I suppose that the end of this matter shall be the ordination of persons who do not exhibit dedicated discipleship, who do not display a manner of life which is a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and the world, who do not submit to the Lordship of Christ. It has always been so. No matter how prayerfully we approach the act of ordination or how careful our background investigation is, we are given to imperfect judgment simply because we are imperfect and we are dealing with imperfect candidates. The difference in our standards is that self-confessed QLGBT behavior does not automatically and irrevocably prevent ordination. It most certainly does not require that such behavior be overlooked and these persons be ordained. Some bodies will seize the opportunity to cast away all standards. We will again have apostate churches, as at Sardis. Others will show restraint and follow scriptural mandates, eventually either capitulating or leaving. That sound you hear is the PCUSA dying. Prepare your funeral clothes.

    by James Keyes

    May 14, 2011

  12. Why? Why do we let social and cultural changes affect Scripture? So we can feel justified and guiltless - that's why! Shame on us for allowing something wrong to destroy our Church. Very disappointing.

    by Ronald J . Powell

    May 13, 2011

  13. I do not think the recent vote on ordination standards has been faithful to the members of the presbyterian church. I understand it is inclusive to some but excludes many children of faith. There has not been a way through this issue for thirty three years. The demise of our church family over this period is both a prelude to further decline and also evidence of wrong direction.

    by Andrew

    May 13, 2011

  14. Why? Why do we let social and cultural changes affect Scripture? So we can feel justified and guiltless - that's why! Shame on us for allowing something wrong to destroy our Church. Ys, we can change without contorting Scripture as we did in 1967. I pray for it and all the members of PCUSA. We will now see the "knee-jerking" begin with people wanting to pull their church from the greater church or short of that they will start walking out. God bless us and help us.

    by Buddy Wheat

    May 13, 2011

  15. John Shuck, this might open the door for a very small group of people (LGBT) but in Latin & South America, the Middle East, and Africa this is not going to fly. Not to mention the ~45% of PCUSA members that are against it. This ruling is going to close a lot more doors than it will open.

    by David

    May 13, 2011

  16. I wonder if some of these commentators have read the wording for ordination standards or understand it. The change is really not a change except that the BO is now explicit that sessions and presbyteries will choose their pastors according to their gifts and faith. This is how it has always been. Our denomination has never been about the business of telling a church who to call as their pastor- straight or GBLT. Personally, I am prouder than ever to be apart of a church that truly seeks to follow Jesus. Jesus calls us to be faithful not comfortable.

    by Rev. Joy Smith

    May 13, 2011

  17. I am surprised at my own mixed emotions about 10-A. On the one hand, I understand the need to be open to God's call. God has spoken through a burning (unburning?) bush, a talking jackass, and many others. Who am I to say whom God will choose to speak through next? On the other hand, I understand those who feel certain sexual minorities are not living in accordance with the Word of God. Yet we have no specific language in our constitution to prohibit those who eat pork, or seafood, or lust after money, or are divorced to become ordained leaders. Surely these examples violate the Word of God? I have considered a call to becoming a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). My prayer is that no one would confuse the messenger (me) with the message!

    by Bruce Carroll

    May 12, 2011

  18. This is a great moment for the PC(USA) and ripe opportunity for evangelism. With open door and open minds we welcome all people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, straight and we affirm your gifts. As for me and my congregation, we will shout this welcome from the rooftops!!

    by John Shuck

    May 12, 2011

  19. I find myself torn now between my understanding of scripture and my desire to love others as Christ would have us do. I believe that this decision by the General Assembly results in a defeat for all parties to this issue. We as a denomination have spent the last 15 years constantly debating and voting on an issue that does not belong on the GA's agenda. Think what we could have accomplished -together- if we had not wasted our time as Presbyterians with an issue that belongs between God and the individual, and not before a governing body. I'm sure the next push will be for same-gender marriage. I'm sick of the whole darn mess and just about ready to jump off the Presbyterian Train To Nowhere.....and I say that as a current Clerk of Session. May God Help Us All.

    by Woody Ms decision by the . Smither

    May 12, 2011

  20. Someone needs to explain to me how is it acceptable for two non-married gay people to have relations but then hold single straight sexually active pastors to any other standard.

    by david

    May 12, 2011

  21. Our church leaders are quick to tout that the new ordination wording says one is to "submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life", yet fail to recognize that this still invalidates those who are practicing LGBTs from ordained positions. If Jesus is Lord of all, then we must be obedient in all ways (to the best of our abilities, of course, and we all will stumble), yet how can a practicing LGBT be said to be obedient? That, to me, seems to be the crux. It's not about homosexuality, it's about the sovereignty of God. Jesus is the rock, "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" (Rom 9:32-33).

    by Jennifer M

    May 12, 2011

  22. I hope the Holy Spirit that the Presbyterian Church (USA) claims to follow in a changing world will forgive them for not following the Holy Bible that makes it clear how we are to live our lives, following the author of this Holy Bible. God forgive them for they know what they have done.

    by frank j

    May 12, 2011

  23. So are we now saying that it is ok for two men/women living in a relationship not legally married (seeing that homosexual marriage is not legal every where) and that is is also ok for a heterosexual couple living together unmarried (which is adultry[if one is married to someone else & not divorced yet]/fonication if neither have been or are not married to someone]; which is sin, no matter how you call it) for one of them to become an ordained minister of Word & Sacrament? No matter how you slice that I would not want such a person male or femal gay or not being a ruling elder over me so PCUSA I must say good-by. MY Lord and Savior deserves my full committment to His Word. How can two walk together unless they agree. On this one I do not agree & refuse to let such be my Undershepherd or the decision making body ruling over me. In Love I say & pray to the PCUSA REPENT and return to your first love. Read Revelation chapter 2 & 3 Also II Timothy chapter 3

    by CYNTHIA D.

    May 12, 2011

  24. This is indeed a sad day not only for PCUSA but for Christians who live by the Word of God. But Gods Glory will be revealed as we get closer to the end times. I trust in Gods timing and in the day when this will be overtuned and Gods church will repent and go back to Him. Ryan - first you are incorrect when you assumed that everyone thinks "This wasn't a vote to turn all of PC(USA)'s Pastors homosexual." - no one stated that they thought the vote was to turn all pastors to homosexuality. I do not know where you get your information but don't presume to speak for me. And the only pastor that will benefit our churches are pastors who teach the bible, believe the bible and know Gods' word. This amendment goes against all of that. John Smith said it better then I ever could. But I will always live by the Word of God and I will never live by the world views.

    by Patty

    May 12, 2011

  25. Many are commenting that sinful nature of adultery has been abandoned with this change. Promiscuous sexual activity of any sort will still not be tolerated by CPM's. This needs to be said: Adultery cannot be equated with a committed homosexual Christian relationship. Much else can be said, but the new wording doesn't privilege one expression of "sin" as being more important than any other. It's better theology and it retains the historical roots of allowing Presbyteries to oversee who is and is not "qualified" to serve the Lord. Are any of us truly qualified?

    by Candidate for ministry, Ross Reddick

    May 12, 2011

  26. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.

    by Ron Inlow

    May 12, 2011

  27. Greatly disappointed. It looks like this amendment was crafted to accommodate one sub-group at the expense of the scriptural mandate of fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness. The old Amendment B set high standards for all of Christ's followers. This one is a farce.

    by Sherrie

    May 12, 2011

  28. I think some of us may be getting a little worked up about this. This wasn't a vote to turn all of PC(USA)'s Pastors homosexual. I think some congregations will be better served by LGBT Pastors.

    by Ryan

    May 12, 2011

  29. To the Church in Sardis 3 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him iwho has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

    by kay

    May 11, 2011

  30. Aghast. Disgusted. Dismayed. Those are a few of the words that come to mind. John Smith says it perfectly. Those who faught for this and claim to be led by the Spirit, wow, you were led by someone, but it sure wasn't the Holy Spirit. A sad day for this denomination. Hopefully this is not the end of the story for this church and may those of us who hold scripture up as God's word has the guts to fight for it.

    by Greg Pubols

    May 11, 2011

  31. While I will endeavor to love those who are homosexual, do I believe they should they lead a congregation? Are we to the point in the history of humanity that we cannot allow ourselves to make judgments anymore over what is sin and what is not for fear of being labeled "intolerant"? Should we now reinterpret the entire Bible? If we reinterpret one thing, do we not invalidate it all? Jesus come quickly...save your people from this sinful age. Teach us to love one another yet respect Your will. Holy Spirit, in these final days, send the latter rain and embolden Your people!

    by kevin

    May 11, 2011

  32. It's a sad day when a church that claims to follow Christ decides that upholding God's standards about sin and ministry isn't important. Jesus loved sinners, but he never told them that sin was okay. Indeed, the fact that he was tortured and killed so that our sin could be forgiven should only motivate us to fight against sin in his name. Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. PC(USA) has decided that it will ordain those who live according to the flesh in an unrepentant manner. This church has brought much shame upon Jesus' name with this decision. Indeed, by this decision PC(USA) has clearly shown that the Lordship of Jesus Christ means nothing to them. I pray that the Holy Spirit will renew this church, calling it out of the grave in which it stands. May the General Assembly repent for its actions. May they return to the foundation of Christianity and the Reformed faith. As it stands, this church has decided to "suppress the truth...exchange the truth of God for a lie... [and] although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." -Romans 1:18, 25, 32 God have mercy on your fallen church.

    by John Smith

    May 11, 2011

  33. Once those who were born black could not be ordained. Once those who were born female could not be ordained. Once those who were born homosexual could not be ordained. I am a proud Presbyterian that none of those statements is true today. God be praised!

    by Lois Andrews

    May 11, 2011

  34. As one whose clergy spouse had an affair which ended our marriage, I am saddened that the 'celebacy' and 'fidelity' guideline wasn't included whether same sex or heterosexual. At least that would be more in line with scriptures including the 10 Commandments.

    by Sharon

    May 11, 2011

  35. Hooray!! I have been waiting for this to happen. I understand why people would be concerned by this decision, and the arguments seem to be centered around whether or not homosexuality is a sin. Let's say it's not a sin. I really believe the bible is talking about forced sex, like prison rape, or sex for just pleasure by otherwise hetero men. I try to imagine some of my gay male friends with a woman, and it's impossible! They are like my girlfriends. We don't know everything about what causes homosexuality. It could be hormones, biology, etc. It could not be a "defect". If it is a sin, or we are to take the bible and every passage literally, we need to start executing a lot of people, not let divorced remarried people be pastors, not let women be pastors, and I digress. We have heard all of the arguments. In my opinion, it is not cut and dry. Homosexuality might be a sin. In my eyes it's not. I could be wrong. But if there's even a slight question shouldn't we err on the side of love and acceptance? Yay for PC(USA)!!

    by Dannah

    May 11, 2011

  36. It's taken a long time in coming, but today I can joyfully say that I am very proud to be a member of this diverse AND inclusive denomination. Praise God whose mercy is never ending and who leads us into paths of righteousness...

    by Johanna Johns Jung

    May 11, 2011

  37. Before 10-A, a male pastor would (most likely) not be ordained if they were living with (i.e. not married) with a female. Was that not based upon Bibical truth- such as "thou shalt not commit adultery"? So now, a male paster living with a male partner is somehow o.k.? How did this magically become accepted? Oh, I forgot, PC(USA) will be redefining marriage soon.

    by Bob

    May 11, 2011

  38. I see now that Jesus must have been having an off day when He told the woman taken in adultery to ,"go and sin no more". Oh that He might have had the mind of our PCUSA folks. Then He might have loved her enough to have overlooked her actions.

    by Dick Carter

    May 11, 2011

  39. You need to have the secular media understand that this vote was from elders and pastors throughout the country and NOT HANDED DOWN from Louisville!

    by Marian Bauer

    May 11, 2011

  40. I hear the comments expressing sadness and disappointment. Fifteen years ago I was sad and disappointed, too, and cried with parishioners who felt the church had rejected them. We didn't leave because we had faith. This will be a tough time, but we need to remember what we sing: 'Tis grace that has brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.

    by Tom Robinson

    May 11, 2011

  41. Rejoice Rejoice again I say Rejoice

    by Noelle Snow

    May 11, 2011

  42. Sad. Like the death of a loved one. The PC(USA) has broken faith with the holy catholic church, with the apostolic faith, and with the Reformed faith. Ichabod.

    by Walter L. Taylor

    May 11, 2011

  43. It's hard to find difinitive language on this, but will a congregation be able to choose not to install, or to dismiss, a pastor, elder or deacon because they are living in a homosexual relationship?

    by David Volk

    May 11, 2011

  44. ‘Inclusive’- what a beautiful word. What a Christian idea. As someone in my late 20s, I have grown up in a time where my friends feel betrayed and disenchanted with organized religion because the church, in its many forms, has historically created organized hate. I have defended the Presbyterian Church, using my home church in NC as an example, as a part of my family. The church has been for me a place of support and encouragement. It is a place I can take my faith both in question and in praise. Whenever I struggle in my faith, I am comforted by the pure words of Jesus- which are full of love, compassion, and tolerance. It is impossible to reconcile these images of the beauty of the Church with an organization that limits the acceptance of a group. As a woman, I could never support limiting the power of a group to praise. Today, I am proud to be a Presbyterian.

    by Margo Mullinax

    May 11, 2011

  45. Extremely disappointing. The slippery slope argument holds true again. Where will the new line be drawn and crossed next? Because obedience and lordship mean NOTHING anymore. It is shameful to think that leaders can live in open violation of God's word and be accepted and praised as men and women of God--servants of the most high! A very sad period.

    by Bradford

    May 11, 2011

  46. Why is a step away from Biblical principles to be rejoiced? This is a pretty cut and dried issue if you read from the Book. Is it any surprise that church membership has waned as we continue to water down the message? We have become lukewarm, all in a quest to fill the pews.

    by Cameron Rhodes

    May 11, 2011

  47. ‘Inclusive’- what a beautiful word. What a Christian idea. As someone in my late 20s, I have grown up in a time where my friends feel betrayed and disenchanted with organized religion because the church, in its many forms, has historically created organized hate. I have defended the Presbyterian Church, using my home church in NC as an example, as a part of my family. The church has been, for me, a place of support and encouragement. It is a place I can take my faith both in question and in praise. Whenever I struggle in my faith, I am comforted by the pure words of Jesus- which are full of love, compassion, and tolerance. It is impossible to reconcile these images of the beauty of the Church with an organization that limits the acceptance of a group. As a woman, I could never support limiting the power of a group to praise. Today, I am proud to be a Presbyterian.

    by Margo Mullinax

    May 11, 2011

  48. I celebrate this blessing in the PC(USA). I fought for this change for many years and am thankful for the saints that worked tirelessly to study, teach, build relationships and listen of the last 30 years to prepare for this moving of the Spirit. I pray that those that witness this affirmation as a departure from Biblical witness return to the corporate studies performed over the years and study them with a heart of understanding. I pray we might return to mission and be who we all are called to be in this divinely created fearfully, wonderfully made world. God is bigger than our finite minds can grasp and any connection to righteousness and truth aught to be tethered to humility. This is my pray for us all. Rev. Ryan Kemp-Pappan Douglass Blvd. Christian Church Louisville, KY

    by Rev. Ryan Kemp-Pappan

    May 11, 2011

  49. The PCUSA died yesterday. The church that we once belonged to will never exist again. I already lived through this as an Episcopalian and will not live through it again as a Presbyterian.

    by Rose Santos

    May 11, 2011

  50. When we joined Northminster Presbyterian Church, Hickory, NC in 1978, one of the members who was an Elder happened to be a high school friend of my husband in Greensboro where we had previously lived. He served the church well and was a very important part of our church life. He was married and had a son at UNC-CH. Later when I served as an Elder, he came out as a gay man. He eventually chose to go to a church with several gay members. He was no less Christian for his admitted sexual preference. Praise be to God for our ability to love everyone.

    by Barbara Walter

    May 11, 2011

  51. It is my belief that the church can only grow as we allow God to be the ruler and judge of all decisions made. God alone knows the hearts of men and has created all in His image, therefore let us labor together in love in order to achieve what God has intended us to as we build God's Kingdom on this earth!

    by Cornell S. Gallagher

    May 11, 2011

  52. Very disappointing.

    by Samantha Kallas

    May 11, 2011