Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Voting on Amendment B is Fast and Furious

According to Presbyweb, the score is 19-9 against the new amendment B. So far, all of the presbyteries have voted along previous lines. To pass the new B, some of those yellow presbyteries need to see the light of blue.

A heartbreaker was Carlisle. A yellow presbytery that failed to pass the new B by three votes, 74-71. It is that close. This means that we need to keep talking and to get out the vote. It can still happen. In many cases more individual commissioners are voting for the new B than in the past.

One of my old presbyteries, Utica, wowed 'em with a vote of 70-3. I didn't know there were that many commissioners there. Quit hogging all the progressives, Utica. Spread them out. We could use a few more in Tennessee.

Chit chats are the order of the day. Check out 1000 conversations and this article about it in Presbyterian Outlook.

“It is really time to use this voting process as an opportunity for the church to grow into something more whole, more healthy, and more vibrant,” Larges says, in reflecting upon her motivation to foster these conversations. “We sensed a different spirit about this year’s General Assembly,” she added. “It was a spirit that came from new voices, and not just the ‘usual suspects’ surrounding the debate.” This sense of a new spirit and feeling it at work prompted both Larges and Vandersall to create something that would continue to foster that spirit.
My presbytery (Holston) votes on March 7th. We are having a chit chat on February 8th. Hearts and minds do change. Even though I am in a presbytery that historically has voted 3-1 against inclusivity, these conversations help us to build relationships across divides and to understand from whence we all come.

What is at stake? Here is a fine article by Lisa Larges of That All May Freely Serve:

Lisa Larges, director of That All May Freely Serve said, "The church is realizing that gay candidates with outstanding qualifications for ordination, as well as their supporters, will leave the church for more accepting denominations if Presbyterians continue to require celibacy for gay clergy."

David Paul, candidate for ministry in New Hope Presbytery (Eastern NC) said, "Although actions taken in June 2008 at our national policy-setting meeting now allow gay people to seek ordination by submitting a written conscientious objection to their Presbytery in hopes of being accepted without celibacy, it is time for our church to proclaim that all people are equal before God rather than bending the rules to let a few of us through."
Presbyterian Welcome has a great website with resources about this amendment. They have an up-to-date tally as well.

Of course, I have more resources on the sidebar. More Light Presbyterians is doing a swell job of reporting on the progress.

If you are an ally, Ray thinks you are a saint! Go get your badge.

Let's not fritter away this opportunity to witness to the inclusive gospel!

Do I have a witness?


  1. without me bothering pastor paul about yet ANOTHER thing (poor fellow, i'm so glad he's SO patient) - i hope you don't mind me bothering you - how do i find out when the utah presbytery is going to vote? and how does utah usually vote?


  2. Hey Brooke!

    If you to presbyweb and scroll down you will find Utah.

    It is a small presbytery, according to #of commissioners. You can see the history. Blue means it voted in favor of inclusion. Yellow means it has voted the other way. Utah was blue then went yellow.

    It depends upon who is there now and how the discussion is going. It is worth talking about this.

    You can contact the presbytery office, need to google it and ask.

    Also, I recommend contacting Covenant Network.

    They have the scoop on what is going on plus resources for starting a conversation in your presbytery.


    BTW, I wouldn't worry about bothering Paul. He asked for it by baptizing you!

  3. Don't why my link to Covenant Network didn't fly.

    Here it is again


  4. thanks for all that john! paul is very connected to the covenant network - he was active when he was in long branch, nj. february we are going to be using some of their curriculum in our congregation - at least that's what i heard from our christian ed director. hopefully if paul can be any influence the utah presbytery will go back blue (blue is good, right?). and of course our presbytery is small - we're in zion, according to the mormons, so yeah.. at our church we've got ex-mormons (me, for 1.5 years for ex), non-active mormons, programmed quakers, methodists, disciples of christ.. in logan, for the more liberal protestants they have a choice of 3 churches in town - the episcopalians, an elca lutheran church, and us.

    thanks again :))

  5. Cool! Blue is good. Consider getting yourself linked with Covenant Network as an individual. It is a good group. You can be an influence in your presbytery. It is so good, believe me, when a church member takes some leadership on this. I am sure Paul would appreciate it! I know I do!

  6. Brooke,

    Here is another website with a list of when presbyteries vote. Check the sidebar. Interestingly, Utah is not listed. Maybe they haven't scheduled it yet.

  7. I'm not really optimistic about Greater Atlanta, but even if we did flip, we'd have the same effect on the outcome of, say, Dakota.

    Polity fun fact: the process of amending the Constitution in the PC(USA) is not unlike the most commonly used one for the US Constitution.

    In the church, regional bodies with widely varying populations (46,000+ here to 900+ in Dakota) each have a representation in the legislative body proportional to their size, but equal votes when it comes to ratifying amendments (2/3 for confessional amendments, majority for amendments to the BOO).

    In the government, geographically-defined states with widely varying populations (36,500,000+ in California, 522,000+ in Wyoming) have proportional representation in at least one house of Congress, but have equal votes when it comes to ratifying amendments (3/4). This of course doesn't count the "convention" method which we haven't used since 1789.

    This little bit of civics geekiness is a segue to a proposed constitutional amendment by my grandma's Senator (as a Georgian, I myself am horribly represented in the Senate), Russ Feingold. He wants to eliminate the practice of having a governor pick the replacement for a vacant Senate seat (such as with the late unpleasantness in Illinois and New York) and instead have special elections, as has always been the case for vacancies in the House.

    Yes, America, this little loophole is how we got Senator Zell Miller.

  8. This little bit of civics geekiness...

    We can always count on Flycandler for that! : )

    And we are grateful!

  9. There is an interactive map with all of the vote dates for the various presbyteries here: