Overture To PCUSA Seeks To Extract Apology From Those Following Biblical Teachings On Sexuality

A Presbyterian Church (USA) presbytery is asking the 222nd General Assembly to apologize to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ/Q) community

The overture asks that the PCUSA affirm, confess and apologize for “the teachings and actions that have created marginalization of our sisters and brothers, adding to the erroneous belief that people who identify as LGBTQ/Q should be considered unworthy to serve fully or be honored as family within and without the church.”

 

A Presbyterian Church (USA) presbytery is asking the 222nd General Assembly to apologize to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ/Q) community because it says “there will be no chance for healing and reconciliation until the PCUSA admits its mistakes and makes a statement of apology.”

The Presbytery of New York City has submitted Overture 50 “On the admission of, and apology for, harms done to the LGBTQ/Q members of the PCUSA, family and friends.” The overture cites as sin the PCUSA’s two-hundred and twenty year position of following clear Biblical teaching and aligning itself with more than 2,000 years of Christian tradition by failing to allow practicing LGBTQ/Q people to be ordained as church officers and not permitting same-sex marriages by PCUSA ministers or in PCUSA churches.

The overture asks that the PCUSA affirm, confess and apologize for “the teachings and actions that have created marginalization of our sisters and brothers, adding to the erroneous belief that people who identify as LGBTQ/Q should be considered unworthy to serve fully or be honored as family within and without the church.”

As of Jan. 27, Presbyterian Church (USA) presbyteries have submitted 50 overtures to the Office of the General Assembly, but only 23 of those have the required concurrence of a second presbytery so that they can actually be debated by the 222nd General Assembly meeting in Portland, Ore. June 18-25, 2016.

While the apology overture does not yet have a concurrence, Hudson River Presbytery had a first reading of “A Healing Overture” at its Jan. 26 presbytery meeting. Hudson River’s overture has the same wording as the New York City overture, but the rationale has some additional language and if it is approved at the next meeting of Hudson River Presbytery then Overture 50 will be before the General Assembly.

“This overture sends a message that such harm done is confessed and repented by the Presbyterian Church USA and that all LGBTQ/Q persons are invited to be, not tolerated, but affirmed and celebrated, fully human, altogether welcomed into the full life of the church for we believe queer presence is essential for the Body of Christ to be whole,” reads the proposed overture from Hudson River.

Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the The Presbyterian Lay Committee, commented that, “so much for the promises of mutual forebearance and a big tent where the full range of Biblical interpretations on issues of sexual practice would remain present. This overture seeks to extract an apology from those who upheld the Biblical and Confessional standards of the Church.”

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