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Way Ahead: homosexual people in church leadership

A way forward on homosexual people in church leadership

The Council of Assembly set the stage for the day’s discussions when it presented its report, ‘A Way Forward’, concerning homosexual people in leadership in the Presbyterian Church.

Council of Assembly member, Rev Dr Graham Redding, presented the Assembly’s report. It recommends General Assembly confirm the status quo and work within existing church regulations, which trust the integrity of regional bodies to make wise decisions best suited to their local context.

As well as answering questions from the floor, Dr Redding told Assembly that the Council’s report was not an attempt to simply find a compromise between two dominant positions.

“The Council of Assembly respects the range of genuinely held beliefs within the Presbyterian Church,” said Dr Redding. “There has traditionally been room to accommodate this diversity of belief and theological conviction.”

The range of views within the church were reflected by the number of proposals presented to the Assembly on this issue. They ranged widely in their approach. One urged that no one “involved in any sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage between a man and a woman” should be ordained. Another proposed that “homosexual orientation or relationship is not in and of itself a barrier to any person being licensed, ordained or inducted into the eldership or ministry of this Church.”

Moderator of General Assembly, Rt Rev Garry Marquand, advised that the Council’s recommendations and the overtures (proposals) are being discussed by commissioners in Dialogue Groups Tuesday afternoon, with report back and debate expected to occur on Thursday.

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