Amendment 14F to the Directory of Worship of the Presbyterian ...
AMENDMENT 14F TO THE DIRECTORY OF WORSHIP OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.) What is it and why is it controversial? How did we get here? What does it entail? How does it affect our congregation? Where do we go from here? So what is Amendment 14F? What about it has everybody talking? Amendment 14F is an amendment specifically tied to W4.9000 of the Book of Order. This section lays out the parameters and statutes for marriage in the PC(USA). In a nutshell Old wording: Marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man. New wording: Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.
SO HOW DID WE COME TO THIS POINT? Presbyterian Governance Comes to Life SO HOW DID WE COME TO THIS POINT? The amendment originated in the Presbytery of the Cascades (western Oregon) and concurred by 16 other presbyteries. GA Committee approved 49-18. General Assembly approved429175. On March 17, the 86th presbytery (of 171) voted in favor of the amendment, thus official ratifying it. To date the tally stands: 98 Yes - 42 No, 1 Tie Salem Presbytery (our presbytery) is scheduled to casts its vote on April 25. On June 21, Amendment 14F will officially change W-4.9000 of the Book of Order. WHAT DOES AMENDMENT 14F ENTAIL?
Are the changes in W-4.9000 limited to the definition of marriage? NO. Section 1: Definition of Marriage New wording Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives. The sacrificial love that unites the couple sustains them as faithful and responsible members of the church and the wider community. In civil law, marriage is a contract that recognizes the rights and obligations of the married couple in society. In the Reformed tradition, marriage is also a covenant in which God has an active part, and which the community of faith publicly witnesses and acknowledges. Old wording Marriage is a gift God has given to all
humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man. For Christians marriage is a covenant through which a man and a woman are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship. In a service of Christian marriage a lifelong commitment is made by a woman and a man to each other, publicly witnessed and acknowledged by the community of faith. WHAT DOES AMENDMENT 14F ENTAIL? Section 2: Preparation of Marriage New wording If they meet the requirements of the civil jurisdiction in which they intend to marry, a couple may request that a service of Christian marriage be conducted by a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), who is authorized, though not required, to act as an agent of the civil jurisdiction in recording the
marriage contract. A couple requesting a service of Christian marriage shall receive instruction from the teaching elder, who may agree to the couples request only if, in the judgment of the teaching elder, the couple demonstrate sufficient understanding of the nature of the marriage covenant and commitment to living their lives together according to its values. In making this decision, the teaching elder may seek the counsel of the session, which has authority to permit or deny the use of church property for a marriage service. Old wording In preparation for the marriage service, the teaching elder shall provide for a discussion with the man and the woman concerning (1) the nature of their Christian commitment, assuring that at least one is a professing Christian, (2) the legal requirements of the state, (3) the privileges and responsibilities of Christian marriage,
(4) the nature and form of the marriage service, (5) the vows and commitments they will be asked to make, (6) the relationship of these commitments to their lives of discipleship, (7) the resources of the faith and the Christian community to assist them in fulfilling their marriage commitments. This discussion is equally important in the case of a first marriage, a marriage after the death of a spouse, and a marriage following divorce. If the teaching elder is convinced after discussion with the couple that commitment, responsibility, maturity, or Christian understanding are so lacking that the marriage is unwise, the teaching elder shall assure the couple of the church's continuing concern for them and not conduct the ceremony. In making this decision the teaching elder may seek the counsel of the session. WHAT DOES AMENDMENT 14F ENTAIL? Section 3: When, Where, & How New wording The marriage service shall be conducted in a manner appropriate to this covenant and to
the forms of Reformed worship, under the direction of the teaching elder and the supervision of the session (W1.4004.4006). In a service of marriage, the couple marry each other by exchanging mutual promises. The teaching elder witnesses the couples promises and pronounces Gods blessing upon their union. The community of faith pledges to support the couple in upholding their promises; prayers may be offered for the couple, for the communities that support them, and for all who seek to live in faithfulness. Old wording Christian marriage should be celebrated in the place where the community gathers for worship. As a service of Christian worship, the marriage service is under the direction of the teaching elder and the supervision of the session. (W1.4004 -.4006) The marriage ordinarily takes place in a special service which focuses upon marriage as a gift of God and as an expression of the Christian life. Others may be invited to participate as leaders in the service at the discretion of the pastor. Celebration of the Lord's Supper at the marriage service requires the approval of the session, and care shall be taken that the invitation to the Table is extended to all baptized present. The marriage service
may take place during the Service for the Lord's Day upon authorization by the session. It should be placed in the order as a response to the proclamation of the Word. It may then be followed by the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. (W2.4010; W-3.3503) The service begins with scriptural sentences and a brief statement of purpose. The man and the woman shall declare their intention to enter into Christian marriage and shall exchange vows of love and faithfulness. The service includes appropriate passages of Scripture, which may be interpreted in various forms of proclamation. Prayers shall be offered for the couple, for the communities which support them in this new dimension of discipleship, and for all who seek to live in faithfulness. In the name of the triune God the teaching elder shall declare publicly that the woman and the man are now joined in marriage. A charge may be given. Other actions common to the community and its cultures may appropriately be observed when these actions do not diminish the Christian understanding of marriage. The service concludes with a benediction. Music suitable for the marriage service directs attention to God and expresses the faith of the church. (W-2.1004) The congregation may join in hymns and other musical forms of praise and prayer. Flowers, decorations, and other appointments should be appropriate to the place of worship, enhance the worshipers' consciousness of the reality of God, and reflect the integrity and simplicity of Christian life. (W-1.3034; W-1.4004-.4005; W-5.5005)
WHAT DOES AMENDMENT 14F ENTAIL? Section 4: Recognizing Civil Marriage New wording A service of worship recognizing a civil marriage and confirming it in the community of faith may be appropriate when requested by the couple. The service will be similar to the marriage service except that the statements made shall reflect the fact that the couple is already married to one another according to the laws of the civil jurisdiction. Old wording A service of worship recognizing a civil marriage and confirming it in the community of faith may be appropriate when requested by the couple. The service will be similar to the marriage service except that the opening statement, the declaration of intention, the exchange of the vows by the husband and wife, and the public declaration by the teaching elder reflect the fact that the
woman and man are already married to one another according to the laws of the state. WHAT DOES AMENDMENT 14F ENTAIL? Section 5: Shall Not Compel New wording Nothing herein shall compel a teaching elder to perform nor compel a session to authorize the use of church property for a marriage service that the teaching elder or the session believes is contrary to the teaching elders or the sessions discernment of the Holy Spirit and their understanding of the Word of God. Old wording HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE CONGREGATION?
Is it permissible for a PC(USA) minister to perform a same-sex wedding? The Nut with the Shell Is a PC(USA) minister required to perform a same-sex wedding? YES. NO. Is it permissible for a PC(USA) session to sanction a same-sex wedding? YES. Is a PC(USA) session required to sanction a same-sex wedding?
Can a session categorically classify the marriages it will deny? NO. Can a session prohibit its pastors from performing a same-sex wedding? NO. Can a minister perform a marriage in the church facilities without session approval? NO.
YES. HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE CONGREGATION? Ministers, Elders, & Deacons Ordination Vows W-4.4003e: Will you be governed by our churchs polity, and will you abide by its discipline? Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of Gods Word and Spirit? Is the first section of W-4.9000 deal breaker for you or can you live with W-4.9000 as a whole, which includes the Not Compel clause? YOUR VOICE COUNTS AND IS VALUED! The Presbyterian Church is a representative democracy. If you resign from office, you ultimately remove your voice from the decisions of the congregation. No session will be bound by a previous session. (Roberts Rules of Order) HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE CONGREGATION? F-3.0105 Mutual Forbearance W-4.4003g Ordination Question
That, while under the conviction of the above principle we think it necessary to make effectual provision that all who are admitted as teachers be sound in the faith, we also believe that there are truths and forms with respect to which men of good characters and principles may differ. And in all these we think it the duty both of private Christians and societies to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other. Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church? WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? OPEN FORUM
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