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Gay Ordination Poses New Challenge To Presbyterian Church


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Gay Ordination Poses New Challenge To Presbyterian Church

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 14, 2005 9:00 pm ET

(Dobbs Ferry, New York) The ordination of an openly gay man to be the pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry is likely to spark a new battle over the role of gays in the denomination.

During the laying of hands at Sunday's service Raymond Bagnuolo was asked if he accepted the Scriptures, believed in one God and creator, and if he would proclaim the word and sacrament. Bagnuolo responded yes.

But when asked if he would abide by the church's constitution, Bagnuolo said he had one exception.

He could not abide by a church amendment that calls for clergy to practice fidelity in marriage or chastity if single. The chastity provision is aimed at excluding gays from being ordained.

Bagnuolo said that the requirement questions God's creation and contributes to violence against the gay community.

The Presbytery of Hudson River, one of the most liberal in the country, approved Bagnuolo for ordainment in September, but it is expected that the ordination will be challenged in a Church court.

In July, 2004 the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) legislative assembly narrowly rejected a measure to allow regional governing bodies to ordain gay clergy and lay officers. (story)

Conservative Presbyterians had warned that a vote for gay ordination at the denomination's national meeting could cause the largest split in the church since the Civil War, when slavery split the church into Northern and Southern factions.

The issue of gays in the clergy is expected to come up again at the denomination's 2006 General Assembly.

Last August, a special panel prepared a report for future delegates to the assembly urging that it maintain the ban. (story)

Last month the highest court in the United Methodist Church formally defrocked a Philadelphia pastor who came out to her congregation and announced she is in a relationship with another woman. (story)

The ordination of an openly gay man as the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire has deeply divided that denomination. (story) Later this month the Roman Catholic Church is expected to release its long awaited document barring gays from entering seminaries. (story)

©365Gay.com 2005


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