213th GA - 2001 - Louisville, KY PDF Print E-mail

Presbyerians Pro-Life
Posted July 25, 2001

Some Actions of the 213th GA (2001),
Reported by Presbyterians Pro-Life

Report by Committee

G.A. recommends removing G-6.0106b and instituting local option for ordination

The headline issue of this assembly was the action which is sending a proposed constitutional change on ordination standards to the presbyteries for a vote. The change, if approved by a majority of our 173 presbyteries, will remove the requirement for church officers of chastity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman (G-6.0106b) from the Book of Order. The same amendment, if adopted, will institute local option for ordinations. The Advisory Committee on the Constitution pointed out that this is contrary to the explicit statement of our constitution that actions of a local church are on behalf of the whole church. Elders ordained in any PC(USA) church remain elders in any subsequent PC(USA) church they join. Therefore, this proposed amendment both challenges the application of our theology and is a direct challenge to our polity. Additionally, the removal of G-6.0106b, because of its wording, is tantamount to accepting sexual sin broadly among those we ordain.

Several other actions of the General Assembly related to sexual practices outside the bonds of marriage.

This assembly took a number of actions related to sexuality, which are highlighted in our report. On this subject only the action to remove G-6.0106b requires ratification by a majority of our presbyteries prior to the next General Assembly. The others are efforts, using a variety of routes, to normalize homosexual behavior. They include studying other denominations' practices of ordaining without reference to sexual orientation, establishing an advocacy group for sexual minorities, opposing the Boy Scouts' resistance to using those who are in a homosexual lifestyle as leaders, and neutralizing an effort to establish ministries of transformation for those in sexual conflict.

Other actions of serious consequence

In the minds of many G.A. observers, the debate which took place at this assembly in reference to the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ, was the most unsettling aspect of the meeting. The relationship between theology and practice became clearer for many Presbyterians. The report from Committee #10 on Theological Issues and the assembly's subsequent action may emerge as more significant than the sexuality debates and actions.

The Assembly Committee on Health and Social Concerns (#13) was dominated by business dealing with beginning and end of life matters. Fetal and embryo stem cell research, late term abortion, the PC(USA) Board of Pensions abortion policy, and the General Assembly's abortion policy were all matters of discussion and action and are recorded below. A positive action by the Assembly in this area was its decision to call for formal discussion of pastoral concerns at the end of life instead of pursuing the development of a public policy position.

The actions of the General Assembly which affect the rules by which the assembly does its business and the decisions which require accountability by the offices of the denomination are crucial to whether our form of government works in actual practice to serve its people, the mission of the church, and our Lord. Therefore, we are reporting a number of important actions in committees such as G.A. Procedures (#2) and Polity (#4).

We have highlighted actions of the assembly that we believe were the most important for the long term health and integrity of the PC(USA).

We send this report along with our hope that you will take two actions:

    Work to ensure that your church is informed, equipped, and present in full voting force at the presbytery meeting where this year's constitutional changes will be acted upon;
    Contact us to discuss matters of reform and renewal business to the next General Assembly as overtures. We can help you with the process.

Terry Schlossberg
Carol Shanholtzer

The 213th G.A. referred business to fifteen committees. We are reporting some of the outcomes from thirteen of those committees, plus the outcome of the election of a class for the Permanent Judicial Commission, the PC(USA)'s highest church court.

    Note: Separate items of business below are set off by a series of three asterisks. Numbers alone, such as 11.029, refer to an item in a report from a General Assembly entity. "CR" plus a number signifies a commissioner resolution introduced by two commissioners at the Assembly. "Ovr" plus a number signifies an overture. Most of them originate with sessions and all of them must be approved by vote of a presbytery or a synod.

Report by Committee

#2 General Assembly Procedures
#3 Church Polity
#4 Church Orders & Ministry
#5 Catholicity & Ecumenical Relations
#6 Ordination Standards
#7 Peace, Purity and Unity of the Church
#8 Mission Coordination & Budgets
#9 Christian Education and Publications
#10 Theological Issues and Educational Issues
#12 National & Social Issues
#13 Health & Social Issues
#14 Global Issues

PJC election

#2 General Assembly Procedures

***11.029 approved: pending successful negotiations, hold 219th GA (2007) in Minneapolis from June 30 through July 7, 2007

***11.025-.027 approved with amendment: Amend standing rule E with new description of Agency Review. Draft was modified in A5 to include "and the Constitution," so it reads, "5. The agency honors the policy statements of the GA of the PCUSA and the Constitution."

***11.030-.032 approved: Amend standing rule B5e to explicitly state, "Commissioners' resolutions shall not contain business that requires an amendment to or interpretation of the Constitution (see BOO, G-18.0301(a))." [In the recent past, any such resolutions were referred to the following assembly in order to comply with the 120 day deadline for business requiring constitutional amendment.]

***overture 01-5 (Baltimore) disapproved: This requested that the standing rule limiting demonstrations be deleted. The overture was disapproved, so the standing rule remains.

***overture 01-30 (Gennesee Valley) Approved with amendment. Direct the OGA to develop and distribute to presbyteries and synods guidelines concerning the selection and orientation of Youth Advisory Delegates. [Each of our 173 presbyteries may send a Youth Advisory Delegate (YAD). They have voice and vote in committee.]

Voice and vote for advisory delegates
***overture 01-31 (Gennesee Valley) approved with amendment: "Refer to the OGA for study and report to the 214th GA (2002) the options for and against extending full voice and vote on the plenary floor of the GA to youth, theological, and missionary delegates." [These delegates, which the Stated Clerk's report numbered as 40% of the delegates to the assembly, currently have voice and vote in committee. This overture is a move to grant them not only voice, but also vote in plenary where the final actions take place.]

***overture 01-42 (San Joaquin): disapproved. Overture requested that "the assembly committees shall report to the GA the advisory delegate vote, the commissioner vote, and the combined total of the two together." This was disapproved.

***CR 01-17 disapproved with comment. The CR requested deletion of the requirement for evidence of "consultation" with GA entities when an overture is passed by a presbytery or synod. The CR was disapproved with this comment: "CR 01-17 raises an important concern. The process of presenting overtures is cumbersome. However, we understand the need for consultation, and we encourage COGA to create a process in which this consultation may take place in an easier and more constructive manner."

***CR 01-23 The assembly approved the following resolution in response to the CR:

1. Requests affinity groups to submit a one-page statement to include

        the organizations' goals and methods of operation and theological emphases;
        annual budget
        number of staff
        list of donors giving more than $1,000
        publish to all commissioners a list of all affinity groups that wish to comply,

And include these one-page statements with a cover page in the printed materials it sends to all commissioners;

2. Refers consideration of the impact of the affinity groups, their funds and their strategies, to any proposed special commission/task force designated to investigate the causes of division in our church.

***CR 01-24 disapproved. Insert in standing rule B9 "nominations from the floor" a new section "a" to read as follows: "At least 48 hours before the deadline for nominations from the floor to be submitted, the assembly shall docket no less than one hour of plenary time for the purpose of allowing commissioners to ask questions of members of the GA Nominating Committee and the nominees themselves if present, to enable commissioners to be as fully informed as possible about the nominees. The purpose of this session is to allow commissioners to gather enough information to be confident they can support the GA Nominating Committee's nominees or to submit nominations from the floor in a timely fashion. Nominees will be allocated space and be allowed to hand out/display literature and be available to talk and dialogue prior to their election."

#3 Church Polity

***12.036-.041 changes in Rules of Discipline alternative forms of resolution. Sections 12.036-.041 were referred to OGA. Item 12.042 therefore became moot, so no action was taken on it. Discussion alleged the proposed wording did not resolve the problems and there was not sufficient "transparency" about what had happened in situations in which charges were not filed. The debate asked OGA to confer with presbytery of San Francisco and Synod of the Pacific because the proposed language prevents accountability.

Per Capita
***overture 01-1 (Scioto Valley) mandatory per capita. Disapproved with comment. "Per capita is one of the sinews of our covenantal relationship. We believe that relationship is voluntary rather than mandatory. Nonetheless, we urge sessions to contribute per capita especially in seasons of disagreement, uncertainty and controversy. Together we shoulder the burden and blessing of our bonds."

***overture 01-58 (Northumberland) Approved with amendment: "Direct the OGA, in consultation with the Theology and Worship Ministry Unit of the Cong Ministries Division, to prepare an Index of Scriptural Allusions for the Book of Order, which shall be made available with all future editions of the Book of Order beginning with the 2003-2004 edition. This index shall be updated as needed."

***Presbyteries approved all but 3 amendments recommended by last year's General Assembly. These 3 were NOT approved:

    00-A On amending G-5.0103 to remove the list of persons welcomed as church members by the PCUSA. Failed 85-88
    00-O On adding new section W-4.9007 prohibiting same-sex unions. Failed 73-99
    00-Q On amending D-12.0103 and D-12.0104 to permit a recommendation of restitution by the offender to the victims of the offense. Failed 46-127

#4 Church Orders & Ministry

Rewrite Chapter 14 of the Book of Order (Requires ratification by a majority of presbyteries)
***12.031 rewrite of entire chapter G-14 in the Book of Order (Ordination, Certification and Commissioning). The rewrite of the entire chapter was approved 476-10. The approved version incorporated all of the ACC's recommendations and only minor modifications from the floor. Where the ACC gave a choice of including a whole paragraph or deleting it all (regarding recording of ordination) the Assembly chose to include all of the current paragraph.

The new draft moves a lot of material to advisory (nonmandatory) handbooks written by GA agencies which presbyteries may use as models for the mandatory procedures they develop. Advisory handbooks will be approved by the GA, but are only advisory. Ordination questions are moved from the Form of Government to the Directory for Worship. Titles of the ordination exams remain in G-14, but descriptions of the contents of the tests are removed, so changes in content would not require approval of a majority of presbyteries (and there is no written requirement that they even have approval of the GA). Temporary pastoral relationships are made more similar to each other.

The status of Certified Christian Educators is changed, with those who are elders given vote at presbytery meetings (now they have "voice only" in presbytery). Questions were raised in committee about whether the Educators must be employed in that presbytery to have a vote. The ACC said the wording did not require that and would probably have to be cleaned up at a future time if that was the intent. Constitutional questions ("ordination vows") previously only applied to officers (deacons, elders, ministers and commissioned lay pastors--who must by definition be elders). The new version also applies the ordination vows to Certified Christian Educators.

***overture 01-24 (Sierra Blanca): Approved with amendment and with recommendation. Renumber current G-6.0202a to become G-6.0202b and add a new section G-6.0202a to read as follows [about Minister of the Word and Sacrament]: "'The person who fulfills this responsibility has, in Scripture, obtained different names expressive of his or her various duties. As he or she has the oversight of the flock of Christ, he or she is termed bishop. As he or she feeds them with spiritual food, he or she is termed pastor. As a servant of Christ in the Church, the term minister is given. As it is his or her duty to be grave and prudent, and an example to the flock, and to govern well in the house and Kingdom of Christ, he or she is termed presbyter or elder. As he or she is sent to declare the will of God to sinners, and to beseech them to be reconciled to God, through Christ, he or she is termed ambassador. And as he or she dispenses the manifold grace of God and the ordinances instituted by Christ, he or she is termed steward of the mysteries of God. Both men and women may be called to this office."
Recommendation: The Stated Clerk is directed to add a footnote to the Book of Order that references the historical origins of this text.

#5 Catholicity & Ecumenical Relations

***overture 01-40 (Savannah) (lists specific NCCC [National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA] issues of accountability which should be reported to the GA and form the basis for funding decisions) Disapproved with comment.
Comment: "The assembly commends the review design of the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical Relations as described in Reports Without Recommendations, 15. General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical Relations, pp. 15-1 and 15-2. [See Attachment A. at the end of this report, pp. 5-5 through 5-6--printed for information only.]"
[PPL note: Attachment A is included at the end of the GA report, not this report].

#6 Ordination Standards

***Request for authoritative interpretation 16.145-.151 (Hudson River).
Request for authoritative interpretation of G-6.0106b. It asks a series of nine questions relating to that paragraph, each of which begins, "Must a nominating committee . . . " Instead of approving the response proposed by the ACC, the GA answered the request with the following response: "This request from the Council of the Presbytery of Hudson River asks for an interpretation of G-6.0106b. It asks a series of nine questions relating to that paragraph, each of which begins, "Must a nominating committee . . ." "None of these questions is appropriate for inquiry by a nominating committee because only a session or a presbytery is authorized to examine candidates for church office."

Ordination without respect to sexual orientation in "other faith communities"
***CR 00-28. That the resolution, as amended, be referred to the task force being formed by the Assembly Committee on Peace, Purity, and Unity of the church (7) pending the approval of the formation of the task force. If the task force is not formed, the resolution should be referred to the 214th GA (2002).

    Requests the GAC, the Office of Theology and Worship, to present to the 213th GA (2001) [sic] a report on the experience of other faith communities that permit ordination of leadership without respect to sexual orientation--bodies such as the United Church of Canada, the United Church of Christ, and the General Conference of Reformed Rabbis, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Uniting churches in the Netherlands.
    Includes in this report such information as changes in membership, financial support of mission, leadership recruitment and placement, and accommodation of theological diversity.

Strike G-60106b plus (Requires ratification by a majority of presbyteries)
***overture 01-8. That the overture be approved with amendment; and that this action be the response to Overtures 00-13, 00-40, 00-48, 01-3, 01-6, 01-12, 01-19, 01-22, 01-27, 01-28, 01-29, 01-32.

1. Direct the stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendments to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:

        Shall G-6.0106b be stricken.
        Shall G-6.0106a be amended by adding a new sentence to the end of the paragraph to read as follows: "Their suitability to hold office is determined by the governing body where the examination for ordination or installation takes place, guided by scriptural and constitutional standards, under the authority and Lordship of Jesus Christ."

2. Approve the following authoritative interpretation: "Interpretive statements concerning ordained service by homosexual persons by the 190th GA (1978) of the UPCUSA and the 119th GA (1979) of the PCUS, and all subsequent denominational affirmations thereof, shall be given no further force or effect; and section G-6.0106a of the Form of Government, together with the other prerequisites for ordination expressly stated in our Book of Order, hereby are affirmed as the sole and exclusive standards for ordination by ordaining bodies acting in prayerful discernment of the leading of Almighty God, pending the approval f the related proposed amendment."

3. Direct moderator of the 213th GA to send a pastoral letter to presbyteries and sessions interpreting the Assembly's actions.

    Note: The text of G-6.0106b that the GA is asking to be deleted reads as follows:

"b. Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or minister of the Word and Sacrament."

#7 Peace, Purity and Unity of the Church

Establishment of a task force on "theological clarification"
***overture 01-33 (John Calvin) In response to this overture, that the 213th GA (2001) approves the following action:

Because we are baptized and profess our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, gather together at the Lord's table, share in brokenness as well as reconciliation, share a heritage of listening for the way in which Scripture speaks as we struggle with hard issues, share a common although diverse reformed history and confessional heritage, the PCUSA shall enter into a season of theological clarification of our Presbyterian identify by:

1. Directing the Moderators of the 213th, 212th, 211th GAs (2001, 2000, 1999), in consultation with the GA Nominating Committee, to appoint a theological task force as follows:

        The task force is to be composed of seventeen members of the PCUSA with membership reflecting the theological and cultural diversity of the PCUSA
        The task force is directed to lead the PCUSA in spiritual discernment of our Christian identity in and for the 21st century, using a process which includes conferring with synods, presbyteries and congregations seeking the peace, unity and purity of the church. This discernment shall include but not be limited to issues of Christology, biblical authority and interpretation, ordination standards, and power.
        The task force is to develop a process and an instrument by which congregations and governing bodies throughout our church may reflect on and discuss the matters that unite and divide us, praying that the Holy Spirit will promote the peace, unity, and purity of the PCUSA.
        The task force is directed to make a progress report to each GA, beginning with the 214th GA (2002) and concluding its work and making a final report to presbyteries and sessions not later than the 217th GA (2005).

2. Calling the church to unite in a sustained period of prayer and reflection on Scripture and our confessions, seeking to promote the peace, unity, purity, and mission of the PCUSA.

***overture 00-6 (Beaver Butler) (appoint special committee to find way for congregations that can't comply with G-6.0106b to disaffiliate while retaining real property) That the overture be disapproved with comment.
Comment: The power and responsibilities of the presbytery enumerated in G-11.0103i, and the provisions regarding church property in G-8.0401 and G-8.0601, clearly and forthrightly describe the current authority of a presbytery to make such determinations, should a particular church wish to withdraw.

#8 Mission Coordination & Budgets

Advocacy Committee for the Concerns of Sexual Minorities
***CR 01-19 (sexual minorities). That the commissioners' resolution be referred to the GAC for further study and that the GAC report back to the 214th GA (2002). That the 213th GA establish an Advocacy Committee for the Concerns of Sexual Minorities to assist the PCUSA to give full expression of the rich diversity of its membership as required in the Book of Order, G-4.0403, and G-5.0103. The committee shall

    be a prophetic voice for involving gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people in the formation of public policy, particularly where sexual orientation is a factor;
    monitor and evaluate policies, procedures, programs, and resources regarding the way in which they impact the status and position of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people in the church and the world;
    advocate for full inclusiveness and equity in all areas of the life and work of the church and in society as a whole.

#9 Christian Education and Publications

Transformational Ministries
***overture 01-41 (San Joaquin) (requested GA to direct GAC, NMD to offer transformational resources to those who struggle with sexual purity) "In response to this overture, that the 213th GA (2001) approve the statement, "The Church, Sexual Healing and Transformation in Christ," and instruct the GAC (CMD and NMD) to include it in the resources being prepared by them in response to overture 00-38 (212th GA (2000)) from the Presbytery of San Francisco,

"The Church, Sexual Healing and Transformation in Christ

"The 213th GA (2001) offers the following word of affirmation and challenge to the individual members, sessions, and congregations of the PCUSA as they minister to those who struggle with transformation issues in the area of their sexual lives:

"We believe, with Scripture, that 'God is able to do far more abundantly than we could ask or think,' and the God wills us all to be a part of the 'New Creation' that is possible in Jesus Christ.

"We believe that this hope of transformation involves all of life, and we express our concern over divisions within the church that continue to be exacerbated by efforts that focus narrowly upon sexuality as the primary locus for defining purity of life.

"We call attention to the action of the 211th GA (1999) regarding 'conversion therapies,' an approach related to 'transformational ministries,' each of which, in its own way, is designed, primarily, to bring about a reversal of sexual orientation and behavior in those who are self-identified as homosexual, and who express a desire to change:

"The 211th GA (1999) of the PCUSA affirms that the existing policy of inclusiveness welcomes all into membership of the PCUSA as we confess our sin and our need for repentance and God's grace. In order to be consistent with this policy, no church should insist that gay and lesbian people need therapy to change to a heterosexual orientation, nor should it inhibit or discourage those individuals who are unhappy with or confused about their sexual orientation from seeking therapy they believe would be helpful . . . [A]ffirms that medical treatment, psychological therapy, and pastoral counseling should be in conformity with recognized professional standards. (Minutes, 1999, Part I, p 80)

"Previous GAs have noted that there is still no conclusive evidence clarifying the origin and basis for sexual orientation, or that 'transformational/conversion therapies' or 'transformational ministries' are effective in bringing about lasting reversals in sexual orientation.

"We should not reject the possibility of such change out of hand, but neither should we be blind to the dangers of offering false hopes. Given the complex realities surrounding the issue of sexual orientation, we join previous GAs in declining to approve as policy a position that would place the GA on only one side of the ambiguities that remain."

"And further to instruct the GAC to prepare a directory of resources, both secular and religious, for ministering to those with sexual addiction.."

Boy Scouts
***CR 01-11 and 01-15 (opposite perspectives on Boy Scouts) response to both:
"That the commissioners' resolution be referred to the GAC and that the GAC be instructed to bring a report to the 214th GA (2002)"

#10 Theological Issues and Educational Issues

Jesus as only means of salvation
***overtures 01-43, 01-51, 01-52 (San Joaquin, Beaver-Butler, San Diego) (requests to reaffirm Jesus as only means of salvation) "In response to these overtures, that the 213th GA (2001) approve the following resolution:

"The GA offers its thanksgiving for the concerns raised by the Presbyteries of Beaver Butler, San Diego, and San Joaquin regarding faith in Jesus Christ, to whom all power in heaven and earth has been given. We recognize a widespread concern for recovering the place of our confessions in all aspects of church life. The GA answers Overtures 01-43, 01-51, and 01-52 by requesting the Office of Theology and Worship to prepare and widely publicize a list of available materials for study and worship that will help our congregations better understand the theological richness of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the Book of Confessions, Book of Order, and the scriptures; the imperfections in our daily responses to God's calling; and ways in which congregational and individual witness can be strengthened. As a witness to what we believe, we affirm the following statement:

We confess the unique authority of Jesus Christ as Lord. Every other authority is finally subject to Christ. Jesus Christ is also uniquely Savior. It is "His life, death, resurrection, ascension and final return that restores creation, providing salvation for all those whom God has chosen to redeem"(1) Although we do not know the limits of God's grace and pray for the salvation of those who may never come to know Christ, for us the assurance of salvation is found only in confessing Christ and trusting Him alone. We are humbled in our witness to Christ by our realization that our understanding of him and his way is limited and distorted by our sin. Still the transforming power of Christ in our lives compels us to make Christ known to others. (1) The Crucified One Is Lord, page 4

Note: The minority report (which the GA rejected) had this wording:

"We recommend that the GA respond to overtures 01-43, 01-51 and 01-52 by recognizing the sense of urgency which faces us in our congregations and communities by reaffirming those teachings of our confessions which remind us that:

    God has been revealed in and through Jesus Christ to be the unique Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
    Jesus Christ, fully divine and fully human, is the singular saving Lord as understood through Scripture, our confessions and Book of Order; and
    All people are encouraged to embrace and experience the Lordship of Christ by putting Jesus first in their lives.

This we now reaffirm. Further, that the GA instruct the Office of Theology and Worship to provide study and worship materials that will assist congregations to grow in their understanding of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in Scripture, our Book of Confessions and Book of Order."

Inclusive Language and the Book of Confessions
***overture 01-34, 01-61 (Detroit, Alaska) (requesting revision of Book of Confessions to "include sensitive, inclusive language in regards to humanity" and requesting a "worship edition" of the Book of Confessions, including proper use of inclusive language) "In response to these overtures, that the 213th GA (2001) approve the following resolution:

"The GA requests the Office of Theology and Worship to prepare worship resources based on the Book of Confessions, which are sensitive to inclusive language with regard to men and women. Further, the GA requests the Office of Theology and Worship and the OGA to prepare a preface to the Book of Confessions that presents the confessions as historical statements which we affirm and also highlights our denominational commitment to be gender inclusive in our life and worship."

#11 Evangelism and Church Development

#12 National & Social Issues

***overture 01-57 (Long Island) That the overture be approved as amended.

    Direct the GAC to establish within two years a special fund for adoption to which voluntary contributions may be made by churches, individuals, and others for the purpose of providing needs-based financial assistance to Presbyterians who are pursuing adoption, and to report back to the 215th GA (2003).
    Make know to synods, presbyteries, and churches of the PCUSA the existence of such an adoption fund in a timely and regular manner.
    Distribute moneys from such an adoption fund in the form of grants and/or interest-free loans to applicants who are pursuing adoption, through a confidential application process.

#13 Health & Social Issues

Late term abortion
***overture 01-26 (Salem) (position on late-term abortions, and precluding funding by the Board of Pensions for these procedures) "That the overture be referred to the Advisory committee on Litigation and the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy."

    Clarify its position on third trimester abortion in general and intact dilation and extraction in particular. Reconcile the contradiction in expressing "grave moral concern" and supporting any decision reached by a woman.
    Eliminate inconsistencies in its communication to the Board of Pensions regarding authorization of funding for this procedure, by allowing categorical exclusion of this procedure based on GA conclusions that would logically eliminate the application of such medical coverage based on the good moral choices by beneficiaries.
    Preclude funding by the Board of Pensions for intact dilation and extraction procedures since the GA has expressed "grave moral concern," and since it has been declared by medical experts that the woman's life may be saved by alternate means.

***overture 01-47 (East Tennessee) (expressing moral opposition to the abortion of babies of 20 weeks gestation and older except to preserve the life of the mother) "That the overture be referred to the Advisory Committee on Litigation and the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy."

    affirm that unborn babies of twenty weeks gestation and greater have demonstrated ability to survive if delivered live and urge Presbyterians to support efforts to protect babies in the final weeks of development in the womb;
    express its moral opposition to abortion of babies of twenty weeks gestation and older except in cases necessary to preserve the physical life of the mother, and express the church's willingness to support and care for women with unwanted pregnancies, encouraging them to consider adoption as an option.

Parental notification for abortion services paid for by Board of Pensions
***overture 01-48 (East Tennessee) (directing the Board of Pensions to insert in the medical benefits plan a provision requiring advance notification of one parent in any abortion of a minor dependent daughter) Disapproved.
Direct the Board of Pensions of the PCUSA to forthwith cause to be inserted in all present and future medical benefits plans under its auspices provisions requiring actual notification of at least one parent at least forty-eight hours in advance of any abortion--inducing treatment being rendered to or upon a dependent daughter under the age of eighteen--else such service or treatment shall be deemed not to be covered for benefits.
(A minority report which read as follows was defeated: "We recommend that the GA respond to overture 01-48 with the creation of a Moderator appointed Task Force consisting of ten (10) persons. The purpose of this task force is to lead to the development of a comprehensive church policy statement on abortion related issues. This Task Force will be comprised of the divergent theological views within the PCUSA. The study should incorporate full Biblical, Confessional and theological understanding of the issues related to abortion. It should include the use of medial developments since the completion of the 1992 study as well as pertinent cultural sociological, legal and medical advice. This task force should report to the 215th GA in 2003.)

Fetal and embryonic tissue research
***overture 01-50 (Baltimore) (adopting resolution supporting use of fetal tissue for stem cell research) Approved. [the lengthy resolution is printed in the committee report, but is too long to include here] "Some of" was added to the second sentence in the "Research on Tissue Resulting from Abortion" section so that it reads, "Some of those who oppose using stem cells derived from aborted fetuses argue that abortion for any reason is wrong."

End of Life
***21.026-.027 + ACSWP "That the response be approved." The response is printed in the committee report and reads in its entirety: "Response: The Office of Theology and Worship has received responses from seven more churches over the past two years."

***CR 01-22 that the commissioners' resolution be approved.

1. Request the Office of Theology to do the following:

        Organize and host a national dialogue to be held in 2002-2003 on theological issues related to end-of-life care, including the articulation of a biblical ethic within the bounds of historic Christian faith that encompasses both pastoral care and palliative care. The Office of Theology shall invite presenters holding differing perspectives consistent with the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church; send invitations to the event to all congregations; and compile and make available resources to the whole church that result from this meeting.
        Urge presbyteries and local congregations to follow up the national conference with similar presbytery-wide dialogues over the following two years (2004-2005) in order to emphasize the importance of discussion between and among congregations, and to add to resources generated by the national conference.
        Prepare a compilation of resources consistent with the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church, which includes resources generated from both the national and presbytery dialogues to be submitted to the 218th GA (2006). The resources shall express a biblical ethic on the end of life, and pastoral and palliative care based on the biblical ethic. The resources shall be made available as an aid to pastoral teaching and care.
        Encourage churches and presbyteries to communicate with the GA and its offices, expressing findings and convictions resulting from their studies and discussions that would serve as a basis for any policy development at the GA level.

2. Defer any effort at policy development of the end of life until 2006 and request the 218th GA (2006) to review the resources generated and the communications sent from lower governing bodies to determine whether the GA finds a need for policy on this subject, and whether a consensus has developed that would guide the development of policy on the end of life.

#14 Global Issues

Promotion of taxpayer aid for international abortion services
***overture 01-60 (call to halt mass extinction) approved with amendment.
[long resolution including the following:]

12. Reaffirming PCUSA policy stating that the church "opposes legislative efforts which reduce foreign aid for comprehensive family planning programs," urge President George W. Bush to reverse his order to ban U.S. assistance to international family planning agencies that use non-U.S. funds for abortion information or services--because reductions in the availability of family planning services impede the urgently needed stabilization of the human population, while leading to an actual increase in the number of abortions, including those that endanger a woman's life.

#15 Pensions, Benefits and Stewardship

PJC election
There were nominations from the floor for three of the PJC positions. The GANC-endorsed candidate won in each case.

Leon Fanniel--324
Masaya Hibino--185

Fane Downs--304
Katie Hopper--214

William Carlough--289
Richard Kellett--223

PPL's GA index
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