FAQ

What is worship like at Good Shepherd?

Good Shepherd provides several opportunities for honest, sincere worship. 

Some people worship God more honestly through the traditional Presbyterian worship style. For those people, Good Shepherd provides two mainly traditional services consisting mostly of classic Presbyterian hymns presented with enthusiasm. 

Other people worship God more honestly through a more contemporary worship style. For those people, Good Shepherd provides a contemporary worship service, consisting of music presented in a more modern, pop style.

Good Shepherd offers all worship styles for all kinds of people, but what makes our worship efforts distinct is their sincerity. No matter what style of worship you participate in, Good Shepherd strives to make your worship experience authentic, uplifting, and inspirational to your everyday quality of life.

On Changes in the Ordination Standards of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Commonly Known as Amendment 10-A

The issue before the Presbyterian Church (USA) is to change the Book of Order by the action. of the 219th General Assembly to replace G-6,0106b which states:

"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, 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 ministers of the Word and Sacrament."

with the following new language:

"Standards for ordained service reflect the church's desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of We, The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation shall examine each candidate's calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate's ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and in­stallation, Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the Confession in applying standards to individual candidates,

1. How would the change in ordination standards happen?
A majority of the 173 presbyteries would have to vote in favor of the change in language for ordination standards recommended by the General Assembly in 2010 to become a part of the Constitution, This threshold was achieved on May 10.
 
2. What would the change in ordination standards mean?
The primary change is the removal of language requiring those ordained "to live either in fidelity in the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness." It also removes the language that requires ministers of the word and sacrament or candidates to repent of any practice that the Confessions calls sin in order to be ordained or installed It adds "joyfully submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ," and indicates that fidelity to church standards is judged on a case-by-case basis by the examining body. This change shifts the authority for applying ordination standards, from a national level to the local session and presbytery level. It represents a de-centralization of church authority and requires more discernment at the local level.  It also represents a renewed emphasis on G-6.0106a, which requires a manner of life which is a "demonstration of the Christian gospel in the world,"
 
3. When would the change become effective?
Changes to the Constitution take effect one year after the date the last assembly closed. This new Constitutional language will be effective on July 11, 2011,
 
4. Is the ordination of gays and lesbians mandated?
No, it is not required, but it is no longer prohibited by specific Constitutional language.
 
5. Will a congregation be required to change its practice of examination?
A congregation cannot be forced to ordain or receive pastors, elders, or deacons of whom they do not approve, The congregation retains the right to determine who will serve as officers. The new language calls the ordaining body to be guided by Scripture and the Confessions in applying ordination standards to individual candidates and their suitability to a particular call.
 
6. Under the proposed change could a congregation or presbytery now ordain or install a gay or lesbian person?
Yes, if after a thorough examination, the congregation or presbytery believes the person to be called by God to serve as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament, elder or deacon and not to be living in violation of the church's ordination standards, as informed by the interpretation of Scripture and guided by the Confessions.
 
7. Is a presbytery required to receive, by transfer of membership, an ordained gay or lesbian minister?,
No, each presbytery determines which ministers to receive into its membership.
 
8. May questions about a candidate's sexuality be asked or are such questions forbidden?
All questions are allowed during an examination, The acknowledgement of being sexually active outside the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman does not automatically disqualify a person from being ordained,
 
9. May a presbytery or session continue to function with the, standard of "fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness" when examining candidates for ordination?
Yes, as long as the application is on a case-by-case basis. The new language requires the examining body to be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying ordination standards to each candidate,
 
10. Is a congregation required to call a pastor who is openly gay or lesbian?
No

For further discussion of these or any other questions, please call Greg Coulter or Dana Bailey at the presbytery office (918-582-3077 or 800-533.1324). We would welcome an opportunity to visit with you.

Advisory Opinion #24

Actions of the 219th General Assembly (2010) related to G-6.0106b
Recent actions by the 219th General Assembly (2010) regarding G-6.0106b in the Book of Order are raising questions in sessions and presbyteries about the effect of this action on the work of these examining and ordaining bodies. This is a synopsis of those actions and their effects:

I.  The 219th General Assembly voted (Item 06-09) to send a proposed constitutional amendment that asked the presbyteries to delete the current text of G-6.0106b and insert new text in its place, A majority of the presbyteries have ratified that change.

This means the standard changes from:

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 ministers of the Word and Sacrament.
 
Standards for ordained service reflect the church's desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate's calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate's ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions,for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

The affect of this change is that it alters the standard utilized by the examining body in conducting examinations. Candidates are to commit to "fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation," and the ordaining/installing session or presbytery is to "be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates,"

II.  In keeping with our historic principles of church order, each session and presbytery will continue to determine the suitability of individuals seeking ordination within its bounds, The change in G-6,0106b will not require an examining body to ordain a person it determines does not fliifill the requirements expressed in the constitutional questions, Scripture, or the confessions.

III. The 218th General Assembly (2008) adopted an authoritative interpretation (Item 05.09), which is now in effect:

Interpretive statements concerning ordained service of homosexual church members by the 190th General Assembly (1978) of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America and the 119th General Assembly (1979) of the Presbyterian Church in the United States and all subsequent affirmations thereof, have no further force or effect, 
 
The action of the 218th General Assembly (2008) to delete the 1978 and 1979 authoritative interpretations, coupled with the presbyteries' ratification of new language for 0-6.0106b, means that now there is no specific prohibition against a session or presbytery ordaining or installing a person involved in a same-gender relationship.
 
IV.  However, the change to the language of G-6.010Gb does not change the process of examination so carefully described in the Constitution and the accompanying authoritative interpretations.
 
A. "The council responsible for ordination and/or installation shall examine each candidate's calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office.”i
 
B.  "The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate's ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation."ii
 
C.  The ordaining/installing bodies stilt examine candidates after recommendation by a committee that the candidate has been prepared and has filled the requirements necessary prior to examination."iii

V.  The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission has not issued opinions or decisions that interpret the new Book of Order language, nor has it issued opinions or decisions that modified its interpretation of the processes or governing bodies doing the examination. The Stated Clerk of the General Assembly believes that the entities responsible for examination and the examination process itself have not been amended.

'See Advisory Opinion 1/ 18
a'rheo1o81eai Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity ot'the Church, Recommendation 5 (2006, 28.29, 523, Item 06-01)  "2010, 21908, 380, I3ierschwale, at al v, Twin Cities Area Presbytery