Last year the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) suffered its biggest single-year loss in communicant members since the reunion of the “northern” and “southern” denominations in 1983. The net decline during 2003 was 46,658 members, leaving the year-end membership at barely above 2.4 million.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth will not be allowed to exhibit at the Baptist General Convention of Texas meeting this fall—further fallout from the deteriorating relationship between the Texas convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.
A Cincinnati minister has won a reversal of a 2003 Presbyterian church-court conviction for performing same-sex marriage ceremonies at a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Permanent Judicial Commission of the Synod of the Covenant made the 6-4 ruling April 30 in the case of Stephen A. Van Kuiken, reported Presbyterian News Service.
ParkerWilliamson, a conservative gadfly as CEO of the Presbyterian Lay Committee and editor in chief of its publication, the Layman, says he will appeal the invalidation of his ministry by the Presbytery of Western North Carolina.
Last month the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) wisely voted to send a five-year study of the family back to the committee that drafted it for revision. “Living Faithfully with Families in Transition” was weak precisely where it hoped to be strong—as a social-justice statement about families.
One of the reports the stated clerk makes to the General Assembly of my church when it gathers for its annual meeting is about statistics: how many members we gained and lost, how many infants were baptized, how much money the people put in the plate. For Presbyterians—and in varying degrees for Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans and others—this is a sobering moment.