The Rev. Jane Spahr was found guilty as charged of breaking church rules that do not allow marriages of gay and lesbian couples. But the regional Presbyterian court cited its own Book of Order to challenge the Presbyterian Church USA to make the changes needed to make their policies consistent and in keeping with the deeper values of the tradition. Quoted from the ruling against Rev. Spahr:
We commend Dr. Spahr and give thanks for her prophetic ministry that for 35 years has extended support to “people who seek the dignity, freedom and respect that they have been denied” (W7.4002c), and has sought to redress “wrongs against individuals, groups, and peoples in the church, in this nation, and in the world” (W7.4002h). In addition, we call upon the church to reexamine our own fear and ignorance that continues to reject the inclusiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.(G3.0401c)
We say this believing that we have in our own Book of Order conflicting and even contradictory rules and regulations that are against the Gospel. In this particular case, in W4.9001 we have inclusive and broad descriptive language about marriage, “Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the wellbeing of the entire human family.” This sentence is followed immediately by “Marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man.”[For the full statement, go to http://redwoodspresbytery.org/ and click on PDF in right column.] Sadly, the church court chose not to use these contradictions and obvious injustices to declare her not-guilty by virtue of following her higher calling. “This is such a sad moment for the Church,” said Rev. Spahr, who has been a minister for 36-years. “Today, the Church rejected God’s amazing hospitality and welcome. It deeply troubles and saddens me.” Rev. Spahr and her legal team will decide whether or not to appeal the decision.