The PCUSA General Assembly gave an indication of the direction that it’s heading today when it elected the new moderator on the fourth ballot. Cynthia Bolbach is a ruling elder from First Presbyterian in Alexandria, right up the road from me. According to the Layman Online, she told the liberal Covenant Network at a dinner this weekend:
“I have been a strong advocate of removing G-6.01016b (the fidelity and chastity standard for elected officers) from the Book of Order. I think it is a stain on the Gospel. I think it does not carry out the inclusivity that we need. And as a lawyer I think it’s pragmatically stupid because it means that we lose many faithful and committed people just because of their sexual orientation.”
The Layman also gives us this question-and-answer from Bolbach in response to a commissioner:
“How do the different parts of our constitution relate to each other and influence our decision making: The Bible, The Book of Confessions, and the Book of Order?”
“We live our lives together under a constitution made up of the Book of Confessions and the Book of Order. The confessions tell us of times in history when the church has witnessed to the Lord in a certain way. The Book of Order is the more practical, down to earth tool that we use in doing our work as Presbyterians. But the Book of Order has been revised more than 300 times since reunion and has become a regulatory manual.” Bolbach said the denomination needs to get the form of its government back to foundational principles. “We need to lift up our constitution so we can live and work together.”
What’s missing from that answer?
Bolbach, the only non-teaching elder among the candidates, lead on every ballot (her lowest vote was 30% on the first, and no other candidate received more than 23%–the Rev. Julia Leeth, the most conservative of the six, got that on the final vote). She was also the strongest supporter of same-sex marriage, according to the Presbyterian News Service. I could certainly be wrong, but if this is an indication, it’s going to be a long week in Minneapolis.