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Twenty-six pastors pen a letter against Olympia Overture’s Part B.

Voting against Part B would uphold the Reformed belief in freedom of conscience, letter says.

Editor’s note: This article is one response to POL-01, the “Olympia overture.” To read more opinions, click here.


To the Commissioners of the 226th General Assembly:

We the undersigned acknowledge and value the efforts of the Presbytery of Olympia and concurring Presbyteries to promote inclusivity and uphold the dignity of all individuals within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). However, we wish to express our deep concerns and dissent regarding the proposed overture (POL-01) to amend the Book of Order.

The PC(USA) is a vibrant tapestry of diverse theological convictions, reflecting the richness of our shared faith. Mutual forbearance and unity are foundational pillars of the Reformed Tradition, allowing for a broad spectrum of scripturally informed beliefs to co-exist and enrich our collective understanding of God’s mission in Jesus Christ.  Regrettably, key portions of this overture threaten to undermine these essential principles.

The overture’s proposed changes to G-2.0104b appear to introduce an ordination question that is deeply at odds with our core Reformed tenet of freedom of conscience.

Specifically, the overture’s proposed changes to G-2.0104b appear to introduce an ordination question that is deeply at odds with our core Reformed tenet of freedom of conscience. Except for affirming Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, each ordination question requires a commitment to a mindset, method, ethic and practice while allowing for plural interpretations of theology and Scripture. This amendment would immediately disqualify and exclude many faithful and dedicated ruling elders, teaching elders, and deacons from serving due to their convictions. Moreover, it risks imposing a non-negotiable and rigid standard on an issue where faithful Christians hold differing views.

Let us not forget that our predecessors resisted the urge to define essential doctrines in the early 20th century, opting instead to leave room for the Spirit, conscience, and interpretation. We must similarly resist this urge, even on matters we feel strongly about. The Church of Jesus Christ in the Presbyterian way is big enough for every person to find their place in ministry and service to the Kingdom of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ in the Presbyterian way is big enough for every person to find their place in ministry and service to the Kingdom of God.

“Let us therefore pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Romans 14:19).

In Christ,

Rev. Bunny Alexander (Black Mountain, NC)
Rev. Joe Clifford (Charlotte, NC)
Rev. Thomas Daniel (Austin, TX)
Rev. Alfredo Delgado (Orange County, CA)
Rev. Brandi Drake (Darien, CT)
Rev. Amos Disasa (Dallas, TX)
Rev. Alan Dyer (Spartanburg, SC)
Rev. Chris Griggs (Glen Ellyn, IL)
Rev. George Hinman (Seattle, WA)
Rev. Raymond Hylton (Washington, DC)
Rev. Patrick Johnson (Asheville, NC)
Rev. Dasol Kang (Laurel Spring, NJ)
Rev. Rich Kannwischer (Atlanta, GA)
Rev. Emily Wright (Austin, TX)
Rev. Betsy Lyles Sweetenburg (Dallas, TX)
Rev. Tony Sundermeier (Atlanta, GA)
Rev. Katie Sundermeier (Atlanta, GA)
Rev. Stuart Spencer (Moorestown, NJ)
Rev. Brad Smith (Columbia, SC)
Rev. Jason Santos (Lake City, CO)
Rev. Juan Sarmiento (Los Angeles, CA)
Rev. Matthew Ruffner (Dallas, TX)
Rev. Mary Katherine Robinson (Black Mountain, NC)
Rev. Pen Peery (Charlotte, NC)
Rev. Ryan Moore (Nashville, TN)
Rev. Nicole Lock (Atlanta, GA)

Editor’s note: This letter is also published on change.org and there have been additional signees there. If you have questions or concerns about the petition, please email info@pres-outlook.org and we can pass your note along to the organizer.


The Presbyterian Outlook is committed to fostering faithful conversations by publishing a diversity of voices. The opinions expressed are the author’s and may or may not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Outlook’s editorial staff or the Presbyterian Outlook Foundation. Want to join the conversation? You can write to us or submit your own article here

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