Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Modest Proposal. . .

. . . That in lieu of overturing General Assembly one way or another on Ordination Standards, Covenant Network and Confessing Churches spend 2006 sponsoring joint service teams to New Orleans and Coastal Mississippi.


Quotidian Grace said...

This is an inspired, brilliant suggestion. How can we make that happen?

reverendmother said...


reverendmother said...

Sent message before I could add:

We could write a joint letter to the Outlook, Presbyterians Today, Kirkpatrick, Ufford-Chase, and the heads of those various organizations proposing it. And get Marj Carpenter to be honorary chair of such an effort.

Quotidian Grace said...

That's a great idea, reverendmother. We should also send it to (Hans Cornelder, editor) as a letter--they would post it, I'm sure.

If one of you has time to draft it I will be happy to sign on. It doesn't have to be lengthy. Shorter is better.

cheesehead said...

Add my "Amen, sisterfriend!" to the chorus.

Apostle John said...

Yikes -- you really are a rebel :)

Purechristianithink said...

Okay--draft #1: Let me know what you think:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The first recommendation in the recently published report on The Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church is for, "every member of the Presbyterian Church, USA to witness to the church's visibile oneness."

The recent catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina has presented us dramatically and immediately with an opportunity to do exactly that. Our embodiment of the love and mercy of Christ in this disaster will be strengthened immesurably if members and congregations who have found themselves on opposing sides of the controversies that have divided us come together to address this crisis.

Over the next twelve months, let Confessing Churches and Covenant Movement Churches, More Light Churches and Presbyterian Coalitian Churches sponsor joint service teams to greater New Orleans and Coastal Mississippi. Such an effort would bear witness to the Body of Christ and help us know it more truly ourselves.


Quotidian Grace said...

I think we should add "and pledge not to initiate or support overtures respecting ordination standards at the 2006 General Assembly" at the end of the first sentence of the last paragraph of the letter. The idea is to deliberately set aside this controversy while we work together on something we agree on, isn't it?

With that addition, I like the draft very much. After we get reverendmother's comments and agree on a final version I say let's send it out. I'd put my name on it.

reverendmother said...

Sounds good (although there were a couple of typos--just run it thru, I mean through, the spell check beforehand!

Thanks for doing this!

Purechristianithink said...

I'm not quite sure how to work with the 'no overtures' aspect. I know that several Presbyteries have already approved overtures and it is hard to reverse that process--it would require Presbytery action, motions to reconsider,etc. Not impossible, but difficult--and perhaps likely to engender just the kind of debate we are encouraging folks to set aside for a season.

How about adding after the first sentence in the last paragraph: "For the next year, let these efforts take precedent over any further efforts to pursue debate or legislation regarding ordination standards at the congregational, presbytery or General Assembly level."

Also--for folks who want to sign on to this letter, I need to know your real names :). If you are willing, email me at (Another blogger's annonymity bites the dust for a good cause.)

Quotidian Grace said...

I'm happy with your suggested language on the ordination standards issue.

I'm a member of presbyweb and will be glad to forward the letter to them if you need me to once you have your signatures.

I'll email separately my info.


Becky Ardell Downs said...

I'm in, and I like your language about the ordination overtures too. Let's be the body of Christ.

peripateticpolarbear said...

I think the idea is a good one. I can't support backing down on the proposals and overtures, but that's just because I've been working on this cause for 24 years and many of us can wait no more.

HOWEVER, whatever happens in the Presbyterian Church, I think it would be amazing if we sponsored joint work teams....especially joint ADULT work teams. Great idea.

Friday Mom said...

I'm catching up on blogs today, so I'm late getting to this and should probably let it go. But, I'm having a bit of a visceral response to the proposal. My initial reaction was to say, Yeah, let's do it. But then the reality of delaying conversation about ordination standards hit me...I would have to wait at least two more years to be ordained, making ordination no less than five years away.

I'm sympathetic to the weariness the debate has caused. I'm sympathetic to the plight of the evacuees. I've spent the better part of the last week and a half listening to some and offering what I could to those who were hospitalized in rooms on my units at the hospitals where I work. Without ordination, I will be able to work as a chaplain for maybe one more year after this one. Beyond that, I will not be able to be employed without ordination. Tonight AM and I will help feed evacuees staying in a shelter near us, alongside at least one other church member who is adamantly opposed to the ordinations of gays and lesbians, maybe more.

The question I raise is this: Isn't it possible to do both? Can't we come together to focus on the needs of the hurricane victims AND discuss these things? I really don't think they're mutually exclusive and I do wonder how the conversation might change if we held it in the midst of our efforts to join together to help others in need.

In my way of thinking, both things are necessary tasks and functions of the body of Christ.