A Presbyterian court in Pittsburgh ruled October 2 that a minister did not violate scripture or church law by performing a union ceremony for two lesbians, since the ceremony was not a marriage under church or state law.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) permits ministers to preside over same-sex unions as long as they are not purported to be marriages.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is inviting its members to participate in a monthly churchwide fast for “repentance, reflection, and coordinated actions” to empathize with those suffering from hunger and famine around the world.
A New Testament scholar at Vanderbilt University Divinity School has been nominated to become senior minister of New York’s Riverside Church, one of the nation’s most prestigious pulpits. Brad R. Braxton would succeed James A. Forbes, who served at Riverside 18 years until his retirement last year.
More than any other mainline Protestant executive in the past dozen years, Clifton Kirkpatrick of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been on the hot seat almost annually over church disputes, usually concerning the ordination of noncelibate gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions.
Because the blessings of two lesbian couples were called “unions” or “weddings,” not “marriages,” the highest court in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has reversed a lower court’s censure of lesbian clergywoman Jane Spahr, who performed the rites in California.
A national Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) committee has nominated Gradye Parsons, a former Tennessee pastor and presbytery executive, to succeed Clifton Kirkpatrick as stated clerk, the denomination’s top executive, at the June 17 election during the PCUSA’s biennial General Assembly in San Jose, California.
At the last biennial Presbyterian General Assembly, many gay-rights supporters along with many conservatives weary of decades-old fights approved a delicate compromise that kept the ordination standards of “chastity and fidelity” but allowed presbyteries to approve otherwise qualified gay and lesbian clergy candidates who morally objected to the rules.
Presbyterians in Minneapolis–St. Paul have voted to restore the ordination of an openly gay man who has refused to pledge celibacy, in the latest test of revamped pastoral guidelines in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved in 2006 a procedure for ordaining gay and lesbian candidates for ministry, but the first step in that direction was not taken until a San Francisco regional body did so last month.