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Presbyterians Block Homosexual leadership

Homosexual leadership within the church

Delegates at the Presbyterian Church’s biennial assembly decided not to adopt a proposal that would allow individual parishes to make decisions about whether homosexual leaders would be allowed in their respective churches.

Delegates were asked to vote on a recommendation from the Council of Assembly that, rather than making a national ruling, the Church would leave decisions on the licensing, ordination and appointment of ministers and elders to local presbyteries, sessions, parish councils and boards of nominations.

In a separate vote, Assembly also rejected a proposal that would have prevented sexual orientation being considered a barrier to being called to leadership within the church.

In addition, 63 percent of those voting at Assembly ruled that the church would not accept for training, license, ordination or induction, anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside the faithful marriage between a man and woman; they voted to make the ruling effective immediately. Assembly, however, declined to make the ruling retrospective, ensuring that ministers who are practicing homosexuals may continue in ministry in their current positions.

Describing the debate on these sensitive matters Moderator, Rt Rev Garry Marquand said the debate was conducted in a way that was both respectful to the people involved, and to the views expressed.

“There are a range of genuinely held beliefs within the Presbyterian Church,” said Rt Rev Marquand. He called for care and compassion between all members of the Assembly, and the chaplains led the gathering in prayer and reflection as they considered the outcome of the debate.

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