Amendment 10-A – What is it? .. and why have we heard so much about it in the last year?
This amendment means a change in our ordination standards that, among other things, removes the requirement for those ordained to ministry in our denomination – as elders and deacons as well as ministers of Word and Sacrament – to live a life of fidelity in marriage or chastity in singleness. It is a requirement added to the Book of Order in the 1960’s specifically to exclude gay and lesbian persons from the ministry.
As many of you have already heard or read in the media, this amendmen recently received enough votes to become part of our Book of Order and will become effective on July 11, 2011.
We have debated our ordination standards for decades and now perhaps we have a new standard that better reflects God’s universal call to men and women of faith – and a standard that better reflects our reformed theology..
But what does it mean? It means that when we examine a candidate for ordained ministry in our churches we are encouraged to look at:
“each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office…Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”
What will change? Here in the local church not very much will change except that we may now consider persons in a same-gender relationship for ordination and/or installation as deacons, elders, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament.
What will stay the same? Again, here in the local church almost everything will stay the same. Each session and each presbytery will continue to determine the suitability of individuals seeking ordination within its bounds. Candidaes will still be examined and all other churchwide standards for ordination will remain unchanged.
More questions? Give me a call. I have a mountain of info and a room full of Bibles and commenaries we can dive into. Let’s talk together as we look for God in our church.
See you in church Sunday!