Actions You Can Take Now

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					Actions You Can Take Now!
August 18, 2008

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Greetings!
As you and your session consider effective ways to respond to recent General Assembly decisions and plan a way forward, I'd like to suggest several actions: 1. Actively prepare for the upcoming vote in your presbytery; 2. Initiate an overture in your presbytery; and 3. Plan to have at least two members of your session at the October 13-15 Gathering XI in Newport Beach, CA. In describing the decisions of the recent GA, Co- Moderator of the Presbyterian Coalition, Pastor Jerry Andrews, wrote: "This was an Assembly that left its Faith behind. It gave every appearance of being the deliberations of an uncatechized church. It was, at several points, functionally postChristian. This is what was new and is most alarming." A report of the major actions of the GA are on the Coalition's website in Part I and Part II. The General Assembly is not the Church. Presbyterian Research Services' surveys often show that GA decisions are at odds with the majority of Presbyterians who worship in our pews and preach from our pulpits. And when that sharp difference occurs, it is important for the majority to respond. This time it is important to respond emphatically! 1. Actively prepare for the vote in your presbytery You will see from our report that the General Assembly has sent down a proposal to replace the current language of the Book of Order on ordination standards. Instead of "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness," the new language calls for an ambiguous-and therefore, meaningless- obedience and faithfulness. If the new language is approved by a majority of our presbyteries, the effect will be to permit the ordination of those engaged in sexual relationships outside the bonds of marriage-both homosexual and heterosexual. We urge a resounding "no" vote on the substitute wording. The presbytery vote must be completed by one year from the close of the GA. Some presbyteries will be voting as early as October. I'm in the process of learning when each presbytery will vote. Please help me by sending the voting date for your presbytery. The Joint Renewal effort is preparing resources to support your preparation for the vote. We will begin releasing resources during September. We hope you are meeting with pastor and elder commissioners in your presbytery. I would like to be of assistance. Please call on me. The work you

do in your presbytery will have an effect on the whole body. 2. Send an overture to General Assembly Scores of commissioners to the 2008 GA registered formal protests to the actions taken by the body. Those protests are recorded in the minutes and serve as a lasting record of faithful men and women who served this year. There is an even more effective action that is available to us. It is the overture. Overtures are the means by which the lower governing bodies call for action by the General Assembly. I recommend that you initiate an overture immediately in response to removing the authoritative interpretation of the constitution on homosexual relationships. The Presbytery of San Diego already has sent up an overture. And many more are needed. The Coalition website has several sample overtures. Any one of them will put the matter before the next GA. Please let me know if you need help to get this process started in your church. 3. Bring a pastor and at least one member of session to Gathering XI Gathering XI will be a major meeting for Presbyterians looking for a faithful way forward. At that meeting you will have opportunity to learn and discuss plans for a successful vote in your presbytery, for preparing for the next GA, for ways to live together in our denomination faithfully and without the turmoil of theologies that are mutually hostile, and for understanding what it means to be the Church in our time in history. Please plan to be there! Details about the Gathering and a registration form are on our newly-designed website. When the General Assembly's high court issued its ruling last February, it quoted from and affirmed a lower court statement that, "Under our polity, violations of behavioral standards are to be addressed through repentance and reconciliation. . . ." It is important to preserve biblical standards of sexual behavior. It is equally important to heed the admonition that violations are an opportunity for the church's ministry to lead us to repentance and reconciliation. Let that be our objective and our prayer. Please help. Please let me know how we can help you. Please support this effort financially. Please let us support your efforts to restore faithfulness right where you are.

Upcoming Events Gathering XI October 13-15, 2008 in Newport Beach, CA Click here to learn more! Contact Information Terry Schlossberg, Coordinator Campaign to vote "no" on changing the language of G-6.0106b 703-680-4571

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