The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has adopted a new proposed amendment (B Plus) that will significantly weaken the restrictive ban (Amendment B) on gays and lesbians in the church's ordained leadership. Amendment B requires church officers (elders, deacons, clergy) to "live in fidelity within the covenant of marriage of a man and a woman or chastity in singleness." Amendment B Plus requires church officers to demonstrate "fidelity and integrity in marriage or singleness." Amendment B stressed conformity to the "historical confessional standards of the church" while Amendment B Plus requires officers to be instructed in those standards.
During the June 14-21 meeting of the General Assembly, the delegates also approved a proposal to enter "full communion" with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ. Such full communion would allow the interchange of ministers and permission for members to take Holy Communion in any of the four churches.
Indeed there are Presbyterians struggling toward fairness and equality on behalf of gay and lesbian persons -- and we thank you. One particular woman who merits special attention at this time of her own Greatest Transition is Our Mother Maribelle, whose abiding presence envelops us even in the pain of our loss. She, an A plus example of God's unconditional love, still stands with us -- our Matron Saint of Nature's Diversity, honorable example of feminine grace, beauty, and integrity, with the ability to unequivocably command respect, as well as to be most generous in giving it.
She remains our inspiration. Maribelle B. Griffin, a former deacon of a Presbyterian Church , was born January 22, 1922 and died June 20, 1997. She, who would do anything within her power to see that each of her children had an equal opportunity for service and leadership in the world, lives in the hearts of those who knew her. Truly to know her was to love her, and her presence is with us always, and even now.