National Presbyterian Church of Mexico excludes recently ordained woman pastor

Dispute over role of women continues between national, regional bodies

March 13, 2014

MEXICO CITY

Pastor Cira Hernández Gutiérrez, who was ordained to ministry in the Communion of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of Chiapas on Dec. 15 last year, has been  excluded from the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico because of ongoing differences in ways the Bible is read and understandings of the role of women in the church.

Pastor Francisco Gómez Maca denounced Pastor Hernández’s situation on Sunday, Feb. 23 in the Excélsior national newspaper, pointing out that she has been an active participant in the Presbyterian Church for 25 years.

According to Gómez, a colleague of Hernández, she was dismissed without receiving any due compensation, and that as a defender of human rights she had “left the elders of the church astonished,” having previously been of service to them as she carried out tasks permitted for women.

Central North Presbytery of Chiapas (National Presbyterian Church) decided to exclude  Hernández from the list of pastors of the National Presbyterian Church, arguing that “only men have the privilege of presiding over celebrations in the temple,” pointed out Gómez.

Now, the Presbyterians have only three registered women pastors, two of them involved in activities of service to the poorest in Chiapas, where they are living a unique experience.

Hernández has presented a law suit in the Conciliation and Arbitration courts of the Mexican justice system, asking that her years of service given to the church be recognized.

The Communion of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of Chiapas has condemned the decision by the National Church to exclude Hernández from its listing of pastors, and to apply a one year disciplinary measure against Gómez for having taken part in the laying on of hands at the ordination of Hernández.

In a public statement, the Communion has highlighted its distancing of itself from the National Presbyterian Church, because of disagreement over the role of women in the church.

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