Response to Toby [not disagreement]

The following was posted separately because of it's length. Long-windiness is one of my spiritual gifts.

Toby's wish for a clear decision on the issue of PUP via Ms. Larges is a good and long sought after desire. Unfortunately as one who has filed charges as well as one who sat on PJC's it's not all that clear-cut. Here's what may or may not happen.

The group that voted against the action of the Presbytery files a complaint alleging Presbytery took action that constituted an "irregularity" or "delinquency"[1]. Assuming the complaint is sustained [agreed with] Presbytery takes a "do over" and Ms. Larges comes back again to argue in favor of being declared, "Certified to receive a call". If not sustained, then those who complained at first can appeal.

Assuming an appeal, it will be with the Synod of the Pacific's PJC [the same that refused a stay in Kathleen Morrison's ordination and merely slapped Ms Spahr's wrist for performing a gay wedding]. So much for clarity from that court. Then of course the outcome again could be appealed to the General Assembly's PJC.

Here's how I would play it if I were on the Presbytery's PJC. When the paper work comes to me I'd argue there's no basis for the complaint. I'd claim that there is no "relief"[2] which can be granted. Please note, I'm not saying it's true or not, just what one strategy might be. At that point the case can be dismissed and it's up the appellate process.

With Toby, I too, wish for a clear decision based on the issues. I just don't believe it's going to happen. Here's a story from Cascades Presbytery in 1991 that illustrates this well. A congregation in Eugene ordained two SAPH people to their Board of Deacons and a Hope Presbyterian of Portland filed charges. The staff of Cascades who met with Hope Presbyterian Church convinced them not to file disciplinary charges but remedial charges instead. It somehow seemed nicer this way and Hope Presbyterian was a very gracious congregation.

The result of two-years of cases, all the way to the General Assembly's PJC was that you can't take away someone's ordination based on a remedial action. Ordination can only be stripped by disciplinary action. And by the time this came about the two were off the board of deacons.

Do I believe malice and forethought went into this Presbytery staffer's direction? If I did, I wouldn't be a friend among my colleagues, now. But it seems that the ones, who should know the rules, led this congregation in a disciplinary wilderness for a couple of years.

With God nothing is impossible. I know that. I believe it. Hold the Sun still in the heavens. Have a virgin conceive. Such are no brainers for the creator of heaven and earth. But, have a quick and clear decision among Presbyterians… I think we're spitting in the wind.


[1] D-2.0200 a. An irregularity is an erroneous decision or action. b. A delinquency is an omission or failure to act.

[2] D-6.0305d. "the complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted."

D-6.0306 c. "If the permanent judicial commission determines that any point listed in D-6.0305 has been answered in the negative, the permanent judicial commission shall dismiss the case.


  1. I wonder if this time though-- folks really do want to see what happened with PUP? Folks on all sides -- 'things have changed,'' no they've not'-- etc...

    It is only good will and hope against hope that sustains the 'nothing has changed' argument at this point, in my observation. It would be very nice if a PJC would clearly rule on what the AI allows for, and what it doesn't. I guess we shall see...

  2. we need to stop dreaming of lines in the sand. this is now a freight train that will not be stopped in a manner that matters

  3. Amen Bill. It is just a matter for us to get out of the way and take a different train.

  4. This will be as good a test case as any.

    (I'm just glad I never bought into the whole 'nothing has changed' Kool Aid!)


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