The debate over the ordination of practicing homosexuals to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church USA once again moves to the local level, leaving some clergy energized and others worn out by the continuing debate.
“I’m frankly weary of it,” said the Rev. Scott Bowerman, pastor of New Kirk Presbyterian Church in Northeast Richland and an opponent of a more liberal ordination policy. “I’ve been talking about it for 20 years, and I’ve been involved in study groups and debates and conversations. I’ve not changed my position over time.”
Delegates to the mainline denomination’s biennual General Assembly, held last week in Minneapolis, approved language that would clear a path to ordain noncelibate gays in committed relationships. About 53 percent of voting delegates endorsed the new language in the church’s constitution.
That policy change still must be approved by a majority of the church’s 173 U.S. presbyteries, which have turned back previous efforts to alter the ordination policy.