Saturday, July 13, 2002

Faith Matters

Church dispute not yet resolved

        The Presbytery of Cincinnati continued last week its denomination's long tradition of debate, discussion and parliamentary procedure before making any big decision.

        Back in May, two opposing factions set off fireworks over the roles of gays and lesbians in church leadership. Madeira-Silverwood Presbyterian Church spearheaded a move to force leaders at a sister church to stop ordaining gays and lesbians as deacons and elders. If the leadership of Mount Auburn Presbyterian refused, then they would be asked to leave the denomination, according to the “overture.”

        Mount Auburn countered that its position was in line with Scripture and with the denomination's constitution that tells members to follow their conscience.

        A proposal to send the issue to an administrative commission partially defused — and certainly delayed — the battle.

        Members of the presbytery, which represents 83 churches and 22,000 adult members in the Tristate, met last week to hammer out the details of the commission.

        Although it could have been given the power to dissolve a congregation, the delegates or “commissioners” instead charged the group with studying the overtures and making a recommendation to the full body.

        The commission's first report is due in January.

        But there's no timeline for the final recommendation.

        Although the presbytery commissioners could reject the recommendation, that's unlikely, says the Rev. Sam Roberson, general presbyter.

        The presbytery rarely turns down recommendations from administrative commissions, he says.

        The group did, however, postpone naming the members of the commission until September.

        There was some concern, says the Rev. Mr. Roberson, that the seven proposed members didn't fully reflect all opinions on the issue.

        Stay tuned.

        For more religion listings, check out www.enquirer .com, keyword: events.

        Send religion news to, or call 755-4144.


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