Third Presbyterian Church
Rochester, New York USA

 

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Session's Statement on Amendment B Youth's Statement on Amendment B Text of Amendment B Other More Light Resources


Session's Statement to the Congregation on Amendment B

On May 13, 1997, the Session of Third Presbyterian Church voted not to comply with Amendment B. The Addition of Amendment B (also know as the "fidelity and chastity amendment") to the Book of Order causes the process for nominating and electing deacons, elders and pastors to dramatically change. This new language conflicts with other parts of the Book of Order which call us to the broadest possible inclusively in the church following the spirit of Jesus Christ. This new amendment also invites unwarranted inquires into the lives of others and sets limiting criteria thereby restricting this congregation's ability to freely choose its own leaders.

Third Presbyterian Church, as a body committed to Jesus Christ, is greatly saddened by this amendment because it attempts to move us away from the historic inclusive position of our denomination and from our own church's stance as set forward in our 1987 More Light statement as follows:

Third's Original More-Light Statement (1987)

Believing that we must work for a more inclusive church, we the Session of Third Presbyterian Church join with other Presbyterian congregations and formally identify ourselves as a More Light Church, adopting the following statement: 

We believe, with Paul, that as Christians we are many members, yet one body in Christ and members of one another. We affirm, as in the Book of Order, that the sole criterion for membership in this church is a confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We warmly welcome all who are seeking God and/or have found reconciliation to God and neighbors through Jesus Christ, regardless of racial-ethnic origin, gender, age, sexual orientation or other human condition. We extend to all embers the full rights, privileges and responsibilities of membership. 

We commit ourselves to: 

  • Work for healing and reconciliation within and beyond our church; 
  • Communicate to all people in our community that they are welcome in our congregation 
  • Seek to make our whole denomination more inclusive. 

The Session of Third Presbyterian Church reaffirms its commitment to this 1987 statement. We will continue to instruct our Nominating Committees to be guided by the Holy Spirit in seeking out the best qualified leadership based on personal commitment to Jesus Christ and the church, and on individual gifts and skills.

We will work to overturn Amendment B by cooperating with other churches in Genesee Valley Presbytery in the drafting and passage of an overture designed to reclaim our heritage as an inclusive community in Jesus Christ. We will further appoint a Session task force to seek out, evaluate, and recommend way that we can bring Presbyterians together locally and nationally in this effort. As part of the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley, Third Presbyterian Church will offer appropriate support and advocate on behalf of other churches of the presbytery who, by reason of faith and conscience, feel unable to comply with Amendment B.

Finally, the Third Presbyterian Session seeks to affirm all of our members in their individuality and uniqueness. We rejoice in our diversity, and we pledge ourselves to work for the acceptance of all people in our community of faith as we seek to give glory to God.

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Youth's Statement to the Congregation on Amendment B

Response to Third Presbyterian Church Session, Rochester, New York on Amendment B

By Senior High Youth April 27, 1997

We, as youth of Third Presbyterian Church, are writing to express our disappointment with the passing of Amendment B. We believe that the amendment pertains directly to homosexuals, yet doesn't state it clearly. We unanimously support Third Presbyterian Church Session opposition to this discriminating amendment. We are opposed for the following reasons:

We hope that our thoughts and opinion offer you an understanding of our hope that Amendment B is rejected.

(signed by 33 youth of Third Presbyterian Church)

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Text of Amendment B

Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage of a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.

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Other More-Light Resources

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Last updated 6 December 1997


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