Noncelibate homosexuals and sexually promiscuous individuals still cannot hold church office in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). On February 19, conservatives gained the last vote needed from the denomination's 173 regional presbyteries to defeat Amendment A.

The amendment to the church's constitution, easily passed by delegates to last summer's General Assembly meeting, would have removed language that requires clergy to live "in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness" (CT, Dec. 3, 2001, p. 21).

Amendment A would also have deleted a 1978 provision that prohibits the ordination of "self-affirming practicing homosexuals."

It would also have transferred ordination standards from the national church to local congregations and presbyteries.

This is the second time that the church has voted to retain the ban. Conservatives who rallied to retain the ban said the victory was bittersweet. They said it reflects the continuing division in the church over homosexuality.

Jerry Andrews, a former moderator of the conservative Presbyterian Coalition, said it is time for the church to enter a pastoral season of reflection.

For now, liberals say they do not plan any moves to further legislate the issue when the church meets again in June in Columbus, Ohio.

Related Elsewhere has all the Presbyterian news you need including an analysis of the Amendment A voting.

In an August 11, 1997, Christianity Today article, James Edwards compared today's struggles within the PCUSA to that in the German church in the 1930s —which launched the original "Confessing Church" at Barmen.

Other Christianity Today articles on tensions within the Presbyterian Church (USA) include:

Talk of Presbyterian Split GrowsHomosexual ordination, lordship of Christ are ongoing issues for conservatives. (Nov. 21, 2001)
Presbyterians Void Ban on Gay ClergyPresbyteries will vote on national meeting's action during the next year. (July 23, 2001)
Presbyterians Vote Down Ban on Same-Sex UnionsOpponents say vague wording led to defeat. (March 29, 2001)
Editorial: Walking in the TruthWinning arguments at church conventions is not enough without compassion for homosexuals. (Oct. 30, 2000)
Presbyterians Propose Ban on Same-Sex CeremoniesChange to church constitution, which passes by only 17 votes, now goes to presbyteries. (July 5, 2000)
Presbyterians urged to allow liberals to leave over homosexual ordinationThe general assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), will be asked to consider a series of resolutions declaring that "irreconcilable" differences exist over the ordination of gay clergy. (Feb. 28, 2000)
Presbyterians Support Same-Sex UnionsNortheast Synod rules 8-2 in favor of continuing church's "holy union" ceremonies (Jan. 10, 2000)
Fidelity Clause RetainedHomosexual ordination under study until 2001. (Aug. 9, 1999)
Leaders Retain 'Chastity' Vow (May 18, 1998)
Assembly Favors 'Integrity' Not 'Chastity' for Leaders (Aug. 11, 1997)
Presbyterians Endorse Fidelity, Chastity for Ordained Clergy (Apr. 28, 1997)

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