We, the people of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, are a people of the Gospel, saved by grace. We affirm that in Christ we are "a new creation, a new beginning for human life in the world:
1) Sin is forgiven.
2) Reconciliation is accomplished.
3) The dividing walls of hostility are torn down." (G-3.0200b)
We find the provisions of Amendment B to be in severe conflict with this understanding of the Gospel and with the Reformed tradition expressed in the Book of Confessions. Amendment B represents a major shift in how we are to determine a candidate's "fitness to serve" as deacon, elder, or minister of Word and Sacrament. Amendment B moves us from the faith-based criteria of the Reformed tradition to behavior-based criteria that place us in judgment of one another. New dividing walls of hostility are built and reconciliation is abandoned.
The finality of Amendment B's passage has alienated and caused intense pain to many members who have answered Christ's call to serve as well as to persons who are seeking and need our ministry. We believe Christ stands beside those whose calling will be unjustly denied by Amendment B. We believe the call to the church is to honor its many and diverse voices in our common life as Christ's disciples, and to protect all its member voices as if it were protecting its future.1
We continue to love the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and do not renounce the authority of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). However, we find Amendment B violates our understanding of the Gospel and the historic Reformed theology of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and our consciences.
Therefore, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area reaffirms its Scriptural and confessional heritage as an inclusive, welcoming, affirming, liberating, repenting, and reconciling community, being transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we reaffirm the presbyteries' and sessions' historic right both to determine suitability for ordination and to ordain.
We, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, covenant together to elect, ordain, and install as deacons, elders, and ministers of Word and Sacrament "persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ" whose manner of life is "a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and in the world" (G-6.0106), without regard to sexual orientation and without regard to the provisions of Amendment B, and in faithfulness to the Book of Order mandate that "The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) shall give full expression to the rich diversity within its membership and shall provide means which will assure a greater inclusiveness leading to wholeness in its emerging life." (G-4.0403)
1 See M.L. Wolfe, "Parliamentary Procedures in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)," Louisville, KY: Office of the Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1988.
STATEMENT OF APOLOGY
WHEREAS the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area (PTCA) is a judicatory of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (PCUSA) and therefore shares responsibility in the decisions and policies of the denomination, and
WHEREAS the PCUSA has through its due process in the presbyteries approved the so called "Amendment B" to become part of the Book of Order in the Constitution of the PCUSA, and
WHEREAS the PTCA determined at its January 11, 1997, meeting that Amendment B is radically contrary to the gracious purpose of Jesus Christ for his church, and
WHEREAS, in effect, the adoption of Amendment B by the PCUSA has reinforced institutional prejudice and shaming of, while relegating to a second class status, faithful Christian members of the PCUSA, and also in effect has gravely offended the consciences of Presbyterians who are appalled by any church action that stigmatizes and excludes any other Presbyterian on the basis of personal differences;
THEREFORE, the PTCA this 10th day of June, 1997, acknowledges its corporate participation in a denominational policy offensive to the gospel of Jesus Christ, namely the adoption of Amendment B, and offers this Statement of Apology to all persons whose Christian faith and relationship with the church, as well as their personal God-given dignity, have been assaulted or in any other way diminished by the inclusion of Amendment B in the Constitution of the PCUSA. To those our Christian sisters and brothers so terribly betrayed by their church we say, "We are truly sorry". Furthermore, with this Statement of Apology the PTCA solemnly pledges to be faithful to Jesus Christ in exhausting all means possible for assuring the just and loving full inclusion of all persons called by God through Jesus Christ to serve and minister in any capacity in the PCUSA.
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