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Pro-homosexuality Disobedience Plagues Presbyterians, Calls For Special Assembly

Presbyterians try to quell call for special assembly

Kevin Eckstrom

(RNS) The Presbyterian Church (USA) is not in a "full-blown constitutional crisis" and does not need a special assembly to settle internal conflicts, church leaders said.

Church officials hope to quell a petition drive for an unprecedented special assembly to deal with pastors and churches who have openly defied a church law that bans the ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians.

Alex Metherell, a church elder from Laguna Beach, Calif., said the assembly is needed because denominational leaders have turned a blind eye to open defiance of the church's constitution. The defiance represents "a clear and present danger to our constitution. A constitution that is not enforced is no constitution at all," Metherell wrote in his petition.

The 2.5-million-member church convenes annually for its General Assembly meeting to set policy. The 550 delegates elected to last June's meeting in Columbus, Ohio, continue to serve until next May's assembly in Denver.

Under the church constitution, a special assembly can be called by 25 ministers and 25 elders from at least 15 different regional presbyteries. So far, at least 23 people have signed Metherell's petition.

The church's Committee on the Office of the General Assembly, in a unanimous letter to church delegates, said a special convention will cost the cash-strapped denomination more than $400,000. What's more, the committee said, there is no evidence that the church is in crisis.

"When processes do not move as some would prefer, or decisions are made that do not match particular expectations, it does not mean that the system is faulty or broken," the committee said.


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