World Mission responds to ending of partnership by Mexican Presbyterian Church

August 24, 2011


As reported yesterday, the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INPM) has voted to end its 139-year-old relationship with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) because of the PC(USA)’s ordination standards, which were amended this year to allow the ordination of sexually active gays and lesbians.

In response to the INPM’s decision, the PC(USA)’s World Mission ministry area has released the following statement:

On Monday evening (Aug. 22), Presbyterian World Mission leaders received a communiqué from leaders of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INPM) officially documenting the decision of the Mexican church to sever the historic 139 year relationship between INPM and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The decision occurred on Friday, August 19, in response to PC(USA) actions on Amendment 10-A regarding ordination standards. Hunter Farrell, director of Presbyterian World Mission, voiced his sadness in response to the decision, “We have had initial conversations with Mexican church leaders since the decision, and together we shared a hope for healing and a renewed ability to engage God’s mission together, but at this moment, this is not possible and it brings me great sadness.” He continued, “We have a deep respect for the voice of international partners, because partnership is at the core of our understanding of Christ’s mission around the world, so we have listened very carefully to the Mexican church leaders.”

World Mission has eleven mission co-workers deployed in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border region. In addition, eighteen presbyteries and three synods have partnership efforts in Mexico. The Presbyterian Border Ministry has been a joint effort of the PC(USA) and the INPM, involving nine U.S. presbyteries serving in coordinated ministry across six sites. Many presbyteries are also involved in Mexico through the Living Waters for the World project. Numerous congregations have also been involved in partnerships and exchanges with INPM congregations.

As a result of the INPM decision, according to Farrell, World Mission cannot continue its participation in these ministries in their current form. “Our ministries have been built on the foundation of a joint partnership between our two churches,” said Maria Arroyo, area coordinator for PC(USA) work in Latin America and the Caribbean, “and without that foundation we have immediately begun to re-assess each of our ministries.” World Mission will be working with mission co-workers individually to determine next steps and possible alternative deployments.

“The staff of World Mission are aware that many Presbyterians have planned future short-term mission trips in partnership with Mexican presbyteries or congregations, but, at this point, because of the decision of the INPM,” Farrell said, “we are unable to encourage these visits.”

“However,” Farrell added, “ in this time of rising poverty, heightened violence, and a deep need for the gospel of Jesus Christ in both countries, God's call to us to be engaged in mission in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican borderlands continues and we will be discerning how to do that.” Support continues to be needed for the mission co-workers and future PC(USA) work in the region during this time of transition.

“Over the past few days,” Farrell said, “the hearts of many of our mission workers have been breaking over this decision. We have many close brothers and sisters in Christ in the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. The words of Psalm 133, ‘How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity…’ which have often been celebrated in our common life, are painful now in the absence of unity, but we dare to hope together for the day, when as Jesus prayed, we might be one.”

World Mission is offering a webinar for more information on its Mexico response at a webinar scheduled for September 1 (10:15 am – 11:30 am Eastern Time). Visit the PC(USA)'s Mexico website for more information.

  1. God says many times in his scriptures that he abhors abberant sexual acts and specifies it is against natural law and his law for man to lie with man and we can also convey that to mean that woman should not have intimate sexual relations with another woman. The PCUSA is very sinfully wrong in its decision to ordain openly homosexual ministers. Marriage is a sacred vow between MAN and WOMAN, and should never be allowed amoung homosexuals. I applaud any country that stands up for God's principle. Unless the PCUSA reverses its stance, they will lose more partnerships with congregations in other countries. This is a terribly divisive decision and WRONG!

    by Joyce Beckman

    August 30, 2011

  2. No person who desires honest discourse of this subject can villify the Mexican Church for their actions. While their body held to the historical and bibilically based ordination standards as their conscience and discernment compelled them, our denomination succumed to the long pressures of the secular LGBT social reformers to weaken our Biblical basis for ordination in order to appease a minority of faithful Presbyterians. As hard as it might be, when we find those in our family, who without regard for what else is sacrificed, will push for their own goals, such as 10A, the Body of Christ is what suffers. The loss of unity is fully in these folks' court. I pray the Spirit will lead us all in wisdom and unity, which is the Unity that God repesents in His being in three persons with one mindset.

    by William T. Kepper, MD

    August 28, 2011

  3. I am afraid this is just the beginning of more disappointment to come.

    by Sibbett F Sapp

    August 27, 2011

  4. If the Mexican Presbyterians think that PCUSA Presbyterians have any control over the progressive and gay movements in the USA or over the US Congress, they should realize that the PCUSA has long ago lost its ability to persuade a lot of people. PCUSA has lost half its membership of a few years ago and is busy losing its credibility because of actions on a number of issues. The New Form of Government and ordination standards leaves to the Session and Presbytery how they will determine whether or not to ordain. I am sure there will be a range of options. At the same time, I wonder what Discipline will be exercised when an ordained teaching elder, ruling elder or deacon does something that is a sin. Are some sins worse than others? Will we deal with this issue when we find out or there is an admission or just before ordination?

    by William Skinner

    August 27, 2011

  5. May the church stand firm in her decision. it has always been true that for something to be born, something must die. the church will continue its function as prophet and the church will move forward and embrace all of God's Beloved. whether someone chooses to join the church that embraces all of God's people, or chooses to be a 'hater' is a decision for each to make. and trust me, those who cling to ink on paper to stand in the way of God's call - are 'haters'. they violate both of the commandments of Christ - love God and love each other as Christ loved us.

    by Barb

    August 27, 2011

  6. It is shame of PCUSA. More shame will come. PCUSA can not hear the Word of God, then hear the word of Mexican church.

    by BHC

    August 27, 2011

  7. It seems that God has withdrawn his Spirit from PC(USA). It will be a matter of time before it completely collapses. There are thousands in the USA leaving this institution right now. How many gays and lesbians have joined this institution to make up for the loss?

    by Willy

    August 26, 2011

  8. One can only hope that, if we (the PC(USA)) will not listen to the witness of the word of God, then maybe we will listen to the witness of the world-wide church. This is just the beginning, but it is also adds to the death throws of a once great American church.

    by Calvin

    August 26, 2011

  9. I pray that we can find a different way to approach this issue. Even if there is a theological disagreement on both sides of the border we should be able to work in spite of the differences. Mexico needs our prayers and unity more than ever. I believe that it is a good thing for the INPM to let the PC (USA) know what they believe and the values they want to support, but that it self is not a strong reason to break a historical partnership between both organizations and to stop helping, caring and supporting the poor the widows and those in need no mater which side of the border they are on. Dios bendiga a Mexico!! God Bless the USA!!!

    by Juan Santos

    August 25, 2011

  10. I don´t applause this ending relationship, but is really sad to know that many presbyterian people is not reading their Bible and realize how clear is God telling us about sexuallity "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind" 1 Corinthians 6:9. Why We should change God´s Word ? If God does not alow this behavior , How can we do it ?. I have many american friends in different Usa states and many are disagree with this amendment. There is no difference between man and Women only Gods creation Human Gender. I dont hate Homosexuals or lesbians, I love them in Cristh and for Christ expecting they believe what the Bible says about for good. Im not fundamentalist ,Im a simple presbyterian concern for those My Christ come to look for.

    by Nathan Reyes

    August 25, 2011

  11. I too am saddened, as I've known some of the missionaries in Mexico. I was concerned about this when 10A passed. Let's hope that most other mission partners do not end their mission relationships with us. Now I wonder if the More Light & Covenant folks will take any steps to mend the broken relationships?

    by Randy Schreurs

    August 25, 2011

  12. Fascinating. I thought what the Assembly did was to remove theologically suspect language that is at odds with historic Reformed theological understanding from our constitution..."obedience to scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards...", as well as to remove the hypocrisy of of language like "practices which the confessions call sin" while only focusing on a single group of faithful Presbyterians whom some deem to be sinful. If this means that some "councils" charged with faithful discernment regarding approving candidates for ordination decide to ordain faithful gay or lesbian persons to office, then that is surely a consequence of the Assembly action...not its main thrust. Councils are still free to decline to do so if that is their prayerful decision. If even the Presbyterian News Service chooses to characterize the Assembly's action by only citing the issue of ordaining gay and lesbian persons to office, then no wonder we are having difficulty understanding all of the problemmatic aspects of our previous constitutional stance.

    by Jeff Clayton

    August 25, 2011

  13. It seems to me that now is not the time to disengage from our mission work. In fact, now it is even more important that we stay committed to our mission there as a sign of our inclusiveness.

    by Gerald Anders

    August 25, 2011

  14. The INPM must repect the decisions made by the its partner in the USA. They can not try to force others to think as they do, which in fact it is what they are doing Mexico attempting to force all the churches to not accept the women ordenation and their minister. It is very sad to see how conservative and blinded can be the leaders from the INPM. The example received by Jesus lead us to accept others no matter if they are different but unfotunatlety their obstinetation is greater than their knowledge about the bible. Regards, David Morales Puebla, Mexico

    by David Morales

    August 25, 2011

  15. Yes! Well done Mexican Presbyterian Churches!!

    by Marissa Phelps

    August 25, 2011

  16. Lamento la decisión tan absurda de los Directivos de la INPM. Sobre todo, por presiones de un grupo radical, conservador y fundamentalista que se apoderado de la iglesia y se ha atrincherado con un acérrimo revanchismo. Personalmente no estoy de acuerdo con esta decisión, y espero, la sabiduría en ustedes para soportar aún el trabajo misionero en nuestro país porque "la mies es mucha y los obreros son pocos". Así mismo, agradezco junto con muchos otros pastores y hermanos su trabajo, amor y pasión por la obra y por nuestro pueblo durante más de cien años. Y no dudo que al pasar este tiempo inquisitorio, las cosas serán restituídas. Con amor... Pbro. Fernando Sánchez Sánchez

    by Fernando Sánchez

    August 25, 2011

  17. My heart is also saddened by the events that lead up to this decission, but I do applaud the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico for their action.

    by Jennifer Seng

    August 24, 2011

  18. Everyone told you that these disruptions would occur yet you persisted in pressing the Gay agenda. How can yuo say you believe in partnership then challange your partners to "take it or leave it" without knowing that faithful Christians do not compromise on essentials. So they "left it". I say "Thanks be to God for faithful Presbyterians in Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Pakistan, SEAsia, Africa and around the world"!

    by John Ladd Buckingham md

    August 24, 2011

  19. Actually the INPM it's in a critical moment because in those days of the announcement of her separation of the PC(USA) took the resolution of say "no" at the women ordination and create disciplinarian devices for the dissidents.

    by Raúl

    August 24, 2011

  20. When a relationship breaks down at a national level between two governing bodies, it need not lead to a breakdown in friendship or kinship in Christ. I expect personal relationships, mutual ministries, and vital partnerships will continue without disruption. Call it "ecclesiastic disobedience," but I suggest that those who are able continue working with our brothers and sisters in Mexico. I understand that is not possible with nationally appointed mission coworkers; I suppose that they are no longer officially welcome. But until we are told not to come to Chiapas by the our Tzeltal partners, we will be going with or without official encouragement. You may say what you are required to say due to protocol, but I encourage your unofficial encouragement to all who have the opportunity to serve in Mexico.

    by Carl Utley

    August 24, 2011

  21. Was the INPM consulted or allowed to participate in the PC(USA) actions on Amendment 10-A? If not, the careful listening was too late and/or inconsequential.

    by Barbara Fichtenberg

    August 24, 2011