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St Andrew's Celebrates Breakthrough Decision

MEDIA RELEASE [for immediate issue]

St Andrew's on The Terrace Celebrates Breakthrough Presbyterian Decision

The home parish of Deborah Gordon, a lesbian woman who wishes to become a Presbyterian minister, is celebrating the decision of the Presbyterian Church that there is no barrier to her candidacy. Ms. Gordon's application for ministry training had been strongly supported by St Andrew's and by Wellington Presbytery.

"At St Andrew's on The Terrace, we have benefited greatly from Deborah's ministry of music, teaching, liturgy, preaching and care," says Douglas Wood, convenor of the St Andrew's Parish Council. “We believe she has gifts and abilities that fit her for ordained ministry and are delighted she will have the opportunity to be assessed for ministry training in the very near future."

Other gay and lesbian members of the Presbyterian Church also have cause for celebration. The Judicial Commission, which made the decision clearing the way for Ms Gordon to be assessed, considered the status of decisions and policies made on the issue over recent years. It concluded that a 1999 legal opinion that the Church had decided not to allow gays and lesbians in leadership roles was wrong. The Judicial Commission confirmed the Church’s 1994 decision that there are currently no specific regulations barring the ordination of homosexual people.

"This is an overwhelmingly wonderful moment in the life of the Presbyterian Church," says Rev Dr Margaret Mayman, the minister of St Andrew's on The Terrace. "For gay and lesbian Presbyterians it is a welcome home, an honouring that we are members of the church with the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else. We have come to this day through the commitment of many gay and lesbian people who have struggled to remain in a church that had declared us second class Christians. I am thankful for Deborah's courage and for the dedication of all the gay and straight Presbyterians who have struggled to see our church become whole again," Dr Mayman said.

St Andrew's on The Terrace declared itself an inclusive church in 1991.

The text of the decision is on the Presbyterian Church website
http://www.presbyterian.org.nz/newsevents/judicialcomm/reportoct03.php

Contact:
Margaret Mayman
St Andrew's on The Terrace
04-472-9376

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