Sunday, September 30, 2012

Canton church splits with governing body over gay clergy issue

From Ohio-

The Rev. William Pawson likens his congregation leaving the Presbyterian Church, USA, to a divorce. Westminster Community Church’s break with its governing body was necessary, he said, because of a policy change regarding gay clergy.

Last spring, the Presbyterian Church, USA, adopted a new constitution, one the Westminster congregation believed strays too far from the Bible by permitting homosexuals in leadership roles and removing the requirement that church officers be in heterosexual marriages or celibate singles.

The change prompted Westminster to join the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Pawson and other conservatives say the policy change is an end-run around repeatedly rebuffed efforts to allow homosexuals to serve as clergy, elders and deacons. In July, the governing body of the PCUSA rejected amendments to restore the language.

“The new constitution was in conflict with the deeply held convictions of this congregation,” he said. “For us, it was the straw the broke the camel’s back.”

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