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A Presbyterian exodus over allowing openly gay to be ordained
The News Tribune ^ | 11/14/11 | STEVE MAYNARD

Posted on 11/14/2011 8:55:41 AM PST by Alex Murphy

Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor voted Sunday to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), primarily because the denomination changed its constitution to allow noncelibate gay men and lesbians to be ordained as clergy and lay leaders.

With 1,660 members, Chapel Hill Presbyterian is one of the largest mainline Protestant churches in the South Sound region.

The Rev. Mark Toone, senior pastor of Chapel Hill, said his congregation reached a “tipping point” last spring when a majority of regional governing bodies, called presbyteries, voted to change the church’s ordination standards, permitting openly gay people to be ordained.

“For 30 years, we have battled over the same theological turf,” Toone told about 1,200 parishioners before Sunday’s vote. While it’s painful to leave the denomination, Toone said, “it would be more painful to remain.”

Sumner Presbyterian Church also voted Sunday to depart. Two other South Sound Presbyterian congregations, First Presbyterian of Tacoma and Evergreen Presbyterian in Graham, also decided recently to leave the denomination.

Chapel Hill members voted by written ballot whether to leave and join the smaller Evangelical Presbyterian Church. About 92 percent of the members who cast ballots voted to do so.

After dropping their ballots into purple bins following a congregational meeting, several members said they voted to leave in response to the ordination of gays and lesbians and other issues of disagreement.

“The church is being influenced by culture,” said Deanna Nilsen. “There has to come a point when we stand on the word of God.”

“It’s a mixed feeling,” said Tiersa Chaffin. “It’s bittersweet. It’s hard to separate.”

Chapel Hill prepared for the vote for seven months, studying issues and working with its regional body, the Presbytery of Olympia.

“It’s been a long process,” said Margie Doerksen. “It’s sort of a relief … to take this first step.”

Doerksen said Chapel Hill welcomes gay men and lesbians into the congregation.

“We choose not to have them in leadership because we feel that’s scripturally correct,” Doerksen said.

At 134-year-old Sumner Presbyterian, 90 percent of the members present Sunday voted to leave their denomination and join The Evangelical Covenant Church.

A “yes” vote equaling 75 percent of members present was required to proceed with leaving.

“It’s a big step to take,” said the Rev. Steve Starr, pastor of 365-member Sumner Presbyterian. In the decision to leave, he said, “I think there’s a lot of unity.”

The congregations’ advisory votes to leave are not final.

The Presbytery of Olympia is expected to vote Thursday to set up commissions that would negotiate with congregations on terms of withdrawal. Those agreements in part would address how much a congregation would pay to assume control of its land and buildings. Properties currently are held in trust by the presbytery on behalf of the denomination.

The congregations would then take another advisory vote on whether to accept the terms of withdrawal. A final vote by the presbytery could take place as early as January.

“It’s sad to see them go, but we’ll respect their process and their decisions,” said the Rev. Lynn Longfield, general presbyter of the Presbytery of Olympia.

She said four other congregations are in the process of discerning whether they want to leave the denomination.

Last spring, a nationwide vote gave presbyteries the option to ordain gay men and lesbians as clergy by removing the ordination requirement of “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.”

The Presbytery of Olympia voted against the change and has not ordained gays. Congregations can now choose whether to ordain openly gay people for positions as lay leaders, called elders and deacons.

The Presbytery of Olympia includes all of Pierce and Thurston counties and extends to Woodland, north of Vancouver. It has 9,600 members in 49 congregations.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has about 2.3 million members, joined three other denominations that permit the ordination of gays: the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


TOPICS: Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues; Theology
KEYWORDS: abominationtogod; fauxchristians; gaychurch; homosexualagenda; lesbyterians; pcusa
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Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor voted Sunday to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), primarily because the denomination changed its constitution to allow noncelibate gay men and lesbians to be ordained as clergy and lay leaders....

....The Rev. Mark Toone, senior pastor of Chapel Hill, said his congregation reached a “tipping point” last spring when a majority of regional governing bodies, called presbyteries, voted to change the church’s ordination standards, permitting openly gay people to be ordained. “For 30 years, we have battled over the same theological turf,” Toone told about 1,200 parishioners before Sunday’s vote. While it’s painful to leave the denomination, Toone said, “it would be more painful to remain.”

Sumner Presbyterian Church also voted Sunday to depart. Two other South Sound Presbyterian congregations, First Presbyterian of Tacoma and Evergreen Presbyterian in Graham, also decided recently to leave the denomination....

....The Presbytery of Olympia is expected to vote Thursday to set up commissions that would negotiate with congregations on terms of withdrawal. Those agreements in part would address how much a congregation would pay to assume control of its land and buildings. Properties currently are held in trust by the presbytery on behalf of the denomination.

The congregations would then take another advisory vote on whether to accept the terms of withdrawal. A final vote by the presbytery could take place as early as January.

1 posted on 11/14/2011 8:55:43 AM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

GOOD....sanity....finally.


2 posted on 11/14/2011 9:01:59 AM PST by goodnesswins (My Kid/Grandkids are NOT your ATM, liberals! (Sarah Palin))
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To: Alex Murphy

“There has to come a point when we stand on the word of God.”

I couldn’t have said it better! AMEN FOR JESUS!!!


3 posted on 11/14/2011 9:04:16 AM PST by BlackFemaleArmyCaptain
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To: Alex Murphy
a pair of Quantum Presbyterians leaving for a straight denomination


4 posted on 11/14/2011 9:10:24 AM PST by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: Alex Murphy
Chapel Hill members voted by written ballot whether to leave and join the smaller Evangelical Presbyterian Church. About 92 percent of the members who cast ballots voted to do so.

With the exception of their allowance for the ordination of women, the EPC is a much better choice.

Not much to say about the other 8%

5 posted on 11/14/2011 9:13:36 AM PST by P8riot (I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop.....Eagle Scout since Sep 9, 1970)
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To: Alex Murphy

I live in the area and often wondered if that church was liberal or not. This is good news.


6 posted on 11/14/2011 9:36:44 AM PST by dragonblustar (Allah Ain't So Akbar!)
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To: Alex Murphy

The PCUSA denomination is like the liberals/Obama’s hopium, it feels good to it wears off.


7 posted on 11/14/2011 9:48:47 AM PST by ReformedBeckite (1 of 3 I'm only allowing my self each day)
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To: Alex Murphy

The PCUSA denomination is like the liberals/Obama’s hopium, it feels good to it wears off.


8 posted on 11/14/2011 9:49:38 AM PST by ReformedBeckite (1 of 3 I'm only allowing my self each day)
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To: Alex Murphy
Either you believe the word of God or you do not. Leviticus is pretty clear on the topic of sodomites.

Why even bother having a church? It's more of a Sunday meeting place for these yahoos.

9 posted on 11/14/2011 9:54:48 AM PST by apoxonu
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To: apoxonu
"Why even bother having a church? It's more of a Sunday meeting place for these yahoos."

The epistles of the NT (and Acts) support a lot of independent congregations meeting in homes and businesses to study the Scriptures and enjoy each other's fellowship. There is no indication anywhere they formed "organizations". So, just gather and study. But, the Scriptures encourage us to gather together.

10 posted on 11/14/2011 10:00:55 AM PST by Dutchboy88
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To: dragonblustar

It’s still liberal if it ordains women.


11 posted on 11/14/2011 11:02:46 AM PST by P8riot (I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop.....Eagle Scout since Sep 9, 1970)
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To: Dutchboy88
But, the Scriptures encourage us to gather together.

Agreed, but that's to "gather together" to worship God and His WORD, not to accept sin into their midst.

By allowing their ministry to have gays as ministers and laity, they're giving the big thumbs up to sodomites while thumbing their noses at God.

So why bother? They're not accepting the Gospel and they're-rewriting God's Word to mean something He did not say. In other words, they're in church - committing mortal sins.

They can do that in any back alley. No need to go to church.

12 posted on 11/14/2011 1:56:25 PM PST by apoxonu
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To: apoxonu; spankalib
"So why bother? They're not accepting the Gospel and they're-rewriting God's Word to mean something He did not say. In other words, they're in church - committing mortal sins.

They can do that in any back alley. No need to go to church."

I believe you missed my point. I am absolutely agreeing with you, there is no need to go to "church", if by "church" you mean an organization with a name, building, etc. As I have said elsewhere here at FR, there is no such word as "church" in the NT. The term used in Scripture is "ekklesia" and means simply "a gathering" or "an assembly" in the loosest sense. The organizations made themselves into "organizations"...not God.

And, yes, those who give the "big thumbs up to sodomites" should be avoided at any cost. We ought to be calling this un-biblical behavior out, walking away from gatherings which allow this, and sticking to the clear sense of the Scriptures.

But, that does not mean you should not gather with other believers who share your view.

13 posted on 11/14/2011 2:09:04 PM PST by Dutchboy88
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To: Dutchboy88

St. Paul seemed to think he had the authority to school those independent churches in the true Faith of the Church.

If there’s a hierarchy and authority, there’s organization.


14 posted on 11/14/2011 2:33:23 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: D-fendr; spankalib
"St. Paul seemed to think he had the authority to school those independent churches in the true Faith of the Church.

If there’s a hierarchy and authority, there’s organization."

Yes, of course, this is the kind of screwed up, totally propagandized muck the "Roman Catholic Church" peddles in order to keep their sheep under control. Please, please, please inform us of the passage which tells us what "organization" Paul belonged to?

15 posted on 11/14/2011 3:20:34 PM PST by Dutchboy88
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To: Dutchboy88

I believe your point was the various congregations in Acts and the Epistles were completely independent with no organization.

My point was that this is contrary to what St. Paul was doing in Scripture, exercising his authority.

Completely independent congregations are just that. Like the ones we see in this article. They take a vote and join a different organization and then another if they wish. They hold their authority independently, completely locally. Unlike the congregations we see in Holy Scripture.


16 posted on 11/14/2011 3:56:12 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: D-fendr

I repeat my question...which organization did Paul join?

Please, book, chapter, verse. Not party propaganda. Real Scripture. If you wonder why the believers in Christ hold the authority of God’s word as superior to your organization, this is precisely the answer: Your organization makes up answers.


17 posted on 11/14/2011 4:11:27 PM PST by Dutchboy88
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To: All

These people, after finishing an RCIA class are welcome to join the Catholic Church.

RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.


18 posted on 11/14/2011 4:16:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Dutchboy88

Why, St. Paul was a Lutheran of course.

As for the authority of God’s word, all these churches claim to have it. The newly ordained first female bishop of the Washington Diocese of the Episcopal Church claims that the gospel is clear on this in terms of accepting homosexuality, active lesbian and gay clergy and so on.

That’s what independent churches can do. They, or you, are the authority of God’s word. It says what they say it says. Unlike what St. Paul writes in his letters.


19 posted on 11/14/2011 4:19:20 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: D-fendr
Very interesting..."The newly ordained first female bishop of the Washington Diocese of the Episcopal Church"

Watch your stocking. There will be reading lessons for Christmas awaiting. Diocese implies the same kind of screwed up organization which has wrapped itself around all of the ankles in Rome. You obviously cannot catch what "independent" means.

20 posted on 11/14/2011 4:23:28 PM PST by Dutchboy88
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