nFOG heads down to the wire, Belhar struggles for breath: An update on amendment voting


Support for the proposal to replace the Form of Government section of the denomination’s Book of Order holds a slim 75-72 margin. A simple majority of 87 votes is needed for approval, so 12 affirmative ballots out of the remaining 26 presbyteries are needed for the measure to be ratified.  This referendum could be decided on the final day of voting.


Support for adding the Belhar Confession to The Book of Confessions leads 75-46 in voting so far.  The confession was written to guide the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and was recently adopted by the Reformed Church in America and will be considered at the 2012 general synod meeting of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.


The proposal to add it to The Book of Confessions requires support by two-thirds (116) of the presbyteries to pass. Of the presbyteries that have voted, the margin of approval continues to hover at 62 percent. In order to pass, 41 must approve it out of the 52 presbyteries that have yet to vote. For final adoption, the 2012 General Assembly must also approve the change.


So far, 89 presbyteries have voted to support Amendment 10-A, which would delete from the PC(USA) constitution the requirement that candidates for ordination practice “fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.”  Instead it affirms in more general terms that “[s]tandards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” and that “[g]overning bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”


Sixty-six (66) presbyteries have disapproved the amendment. 


Compared to the last round (in 2008-09) of voting on that proposed change, Boise Presbytery became the 20th presbytery to switch from opposition to support.  Just three (3) presbyteries have withdrawn their support.



Summary as of May 17, 2011




Needed for approval

Ordination Standards








Belhar Confession





Do you want to track the voting on these amendments?  The official tabulation of votes is managed by the Office of the General Assembly (OGA).  Some affiliated advocacy organizations are also tracking the votes on their Web pages.

Office of the General Assembly

Covenant Network – which supports ratification

Presbyterian Coalition – which opposes ratification

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