Sunday, February 08, 2009

Vote on Amendment 8-B

This post is for my PresbyPolity readers:

Presbytery of New Covenant voted on the proposed amendment to the Book of Order at yesterday's meeting. The vote on the one controversial amendment which would delete the ordination standards in 6.0106b was 119 in favor and 171 opposed. Historically, that is similar to this presbytery's vote in the past on the same issue.

Several months of careful thought and prayer by the Ecclesiastical Affairs Committee were spent in developing the format for the debate and vote on the issue. The meeting opened with worship and communion. When we got to the vote on the amendments, the less controversial amendments were presented and voted on first and then Amendment 8-B was presented separately.

Discussion of the issue began with brief presentations by an advocate and an opponent of the amendment. Then the floor was open 40 minutes for debate, each speaker being given 2 minutes. At the end of that time, a motion to extend debate to hear everyone lined up at the microphone at the time of the motion was made and passed by a close vote. At the close of discussion there was a time for silent prayer and then two pastors who hold opposite views on the issue offered a prayer that they had prepared collaboratively.

I believe this format has been used by a few other presbyteries. It seemed to work very well for us and I would recommend it to other presbyteries that may be looking for a good framework for the presentation of this vote and the debate. I heard a lot of positive comments from people on both sides about the way in which the issue was presented and the discussion. Kudos to everyone involved, especially our new Moderator, Rev. Wayne Eberly.


Rev Kim said...

We also voted on the Amendment yesterday. 18 in favor, 38 opposed (yes, our Presbytery is small!). Like your presbytery, this is similar to our vote in the past.

Our new Moderator moderated the entire meeting, including the amendment voting, with much graciousness, leading us in prayer before, during, and after the voting on Amendment B. Everyone marveled at how the truth was spoken in love throughout the debate. It wasn't surprising to me, but I've only been here 3 1/2 years and apparently the debates haven't always been so civil.

I hope and pray that the voting in all of the presbyteries is as peaceful as we experienced.

cheesehead said...

We will be voting Feb. 24th, and I fully expect that our outcome will be very different than yours.

We have been receiving guidelines on the proper procedure and decorum, which is very very similar to the one you outline, QG. We are having a 1.5 hour pre-Presbytery event at which the GA commissioner will speak. Our new moderator, who is a very dear friend af mine and a universally respected colleague within the Presbytery will have things well in hand, I'm confident.