Presbyterian Church Votes to Allow Gay Ministers

By KBJR News 1

May 12, 2011 Updated May 12, 2011 at 6:44 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (The Northland's NewsCenter) - In a historic move, The Presbyterian Church voted to change language in its book of order that would allow openly gay ministers to be ordained within the church.
Something pastors at the Glen Avon Presbyterian Church in Duluth say has been a long time coming.

Pastor Lon Weaver says, "We're parents of two young adults and quite honestly they've sort have wondered what has been the problem up until this time."

The measure approved eliminates language requiring that a clergy candidate, "live in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness."

The new provision instead requires ministers to, "submit joyfully to the lordship of Jesus Christ in ALL aspects of life."

"We actually want some level of difference so that all voices, in a sense, are heard," Weaver said.

Several other denominations have allowed openly gay ministers in their church.

One that hasn't?

The Methodist Church; the nation's largest mainline denomination.

"I personally would like to see denominations, and my denomination included, be open to the ordination of gay and lesbian people because I think they have tremendous gifts to share."

David Bard is the pastor of the Coppertop United Methodist Church in Duluth.

Though they do not allow homosexual ministers, the Coppertop is one that opens its doors fully to all people... regardless of sexual orientation.

"As a reconciling congregation, we've made a statement saying we would like to see our denomination's policies changed."

Yet, even after the Presbyterian Church decided to allow homosexual ministers, pastors acknowledge the change could cause tension within the congregation.

"In the church it creates a significant amount of discussion and sometimes division."

To confront the 'elephant in the room' on Sunday, Pastor Weaver says he'll deliver his sermon on accepting one another.

"Hopefully we can find a way to sit around a table and have a conversation."

A conversation which they think will be a step in the right direction.

This measure has been voted on three separate times since 1998.

The new policy will take effect July 10th.

written for the web by Chris Axelson