Statement Affirming Women in Ministry
Being Presbyterian is a movement which seeks the welfare of the church. We name our priorities in our Road Map, the third of which reads:
“We affirm that God calls women and men to all the ministries of the church. We therefore pray and work for the unequivocal embrace of our mutual vocation in which all serve Christ with equal authority.”
In response to recent statements in the public domain from PCI ministers which diminish, damage, and undermine PCI’s agreed policy on both men and women being eligible for ministry, we make the following points:
- We fully support women who are called and ordained as ministers and elders to serve the church of our Lord Jesus Christ with the gifts and fruits that the Holy Spirit endows.
- We express our dismay when the status of women, as recognized by the church, is called into question by colleagues in ministry.
- We are sensitive to, and grieved by, the hurt and distress that result from a lack of collegial affirmation.
- Recognising that the so-called “conscience clause” is limited in its scope and intent, we ask the courts of the Church to ensure that it is not being misunderstood or abused in practice.
The statement was read at the AGM on 15th February 2023 and affirmed by the Committee and Being Presbyterian members present at the meeting.
Statement on the resignation of Rev. Ian Carton
The Committee of Being Presbyterian (BP) learned with deep sorrow of the decision of the Rev Ian Carton to resign his ministry within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI). Ian and his wife June have been valued colleagues and members of our group. Ian was a guest speaker at a BP event where many listened with care and concern to his story, told with great honesty and dignity. We understand that the journey of these recent days has not been easy for Ian and his family and offer to them our continued support and prayers.
We understand and share much of the pain that has led to Ian decision to leave. While fully respecting that decision, as a group we continue our presence together within PCI in which as our BP Road Map states: “We affirm that God models a unity-in-diversity in which all are called to life in the church. We therefore pray and work for a church in which none who respond to that call are excluded on the basis of age, class, colour, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity… a church in which a lively diversity is nurtured, held in Christ and bears the fruit of the Spirit.”
A Cry from the Heart
The statement, A Cry from the Heart, was issued to the press on Thursday, 5 July 2018, in response to decisions taken at the 2018 General Assembly. The statement was open for signatures for 48 hours only, in order that it could be issued quickly and before the summer holiday period. At the end of the 48 hours it had been signed by around 230 ordained ruling and teaching elders in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Those who signed did so in a personal capacity.
The statement was an ad hoc effort, initiated by a small group of ministers who were ourselves in deep dismay after the 2018 General Assembly, and wanted to give public voice both to our own dismay and to the upset, even anguish, being expressed to us by others.
The intention was simply to lay down a marker, a signpost, a visible sign of the work ahead of us and of our commitment to it. Being Presbyterian is one of the initiatives that began to emerge later that same year as one part of a response to our profound concern, and an expression of commitment to the health and well-being of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
Statement: A Cry from the Heart
As teaching and ruling elders in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, we acknowledge, and indeed share, the profound sense of hurt, dismay and anger currently being expressed in the wake of decisions taken at our 2018 General Assembly. This level of feeling is unprecedented in our pastoral experience.
We are committed to doing all we can to ensure that the decisions which have prompted such a level of concern will be subject to the urgent attention they deserve, and for which many in the Church are calling.
We gladly acknowledge that we ourselves have been constantly enriched and challenged by the diversity of views found in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Therefore, as we participate in this work of critical engagement and discernment, we hold that any unnecessary narrowing of the range of acceptable theological perspectives within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland will damage our credibility and limit our future.
We make this statement as a prayerful expression of appropriate loyalty to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland at this moment in our history; a necessary consequence of our ordination vows, which we take with the utmost seriousness; and by the grace of God, an imperfect yet credible witness to our trust in Jesus Christ alone.
To God alone be the glory.