For more than twenty-five years our church has been wrestling with matters of sexuality and faith and this vote is not the end of the debate. We are so grateful to all those who have worked to support this amendment. Moreover, we appreciate the commitment of all those who continue to work for change.
Bill Moss, Co-Moderator, and elder at Old First Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, says that: “We believe that this amendment would have helped dismantle the homophobia in our church and become a witness for justice in our world. This amendment is clearly faithful to the teachings and life of Jesus Christ, to the Gospel, Reformed theology, Presbyterian polity, what is essential to faith and ethical standards for ordination and service in the church.”
While this amendment has failed to secure a margin of approval necessary for constitutional change, it is evident that there is a very significant level of support for removal of the ban on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and single heterosexual members for ordination. This is reflected in the number of very close votes in presbyteries and the close margin of individual votes.
Mitzi Henderson, Co-Moderator, elder at First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto, and former national president of PFLAG offers: “We are saddened by the apparent impact of the threat of schism, the withholding of per capita money, the mis-use of the Bible, the inaccurate characterizations of the Amendment and the messages of fear utilized by the opponents of Amendment A to ensure its defeat. Despite those efforts, a growing number of Presbyterians are open to discernment of new ways of understanding.”
Michael Adee, National Field Organizer, and gay elder at First Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe, offers a historical perspective on this vote: “We have been in this place before. Our church sanctioned slavery, racial segegation, the subordination of women, and harsh treatment of divorced persons. The Bible was used to support that prejudice and exclusion. In each of those important faith and justice concerns, we looked anew at the Bible and our church law and changed. We are in that same place now in terms of whether or not we will accept and affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA).”
More Light Presbyterians will continue to bring before the PCUSA a vision of a church and world that accepts and affirms all people as created in God’s image.
We will continue to faithfully live into that vision and encourage the church to become
all that God would has us be.