Top 10 Presbyterian News Stories Of 2012

Well, I did this for the first time last year and thought I would continue again this New Years. So here, in no particular order, are my top ten Presbyterian news stories of the past year.

1. Korean Presbyterians celebrate their centennial General Assembly
With their first GA in 1912 this year Korean Presbyterians celebrated their centennial Assembly in September with guests from around the world including the Church of Scotland and the PC(USA). More from the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

Speaking of the WCRC...

2. World Communion of Reformed Churches to move headquarters
Finding the cost of operating in Germany to be cheaper than in Switzerland in November the WCRC executive committee issued a press release announcing the move from  Geneva to Hanover.

3. Departures from the Church of Scotland
While a few pastors and a couple of congregations began leaving last spring the news climaxed in December with the congregation of St. Georges Tron in Glasgow giving up their fight to keep their property and vacating the building.

And while we are on the topic of Scotland...

4. Presbyterian Opposition to Same-gender Marriage in Scotland
While the Church of Scotland has set a trajectory for ordination and marriage for same-gender partnered individuals, that policy change has not yet been made so the Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland have expressed their opposition to the Scottish Government's plan to introduce same-gender marriage. In addition, while the discussions in Northern Ireland are not as advanced, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland expressed their concern for government suggestions about introducing same-gender marriage in Norther Ireland.

Continuing the news about marriage...

5. Presbyterians Reaffirm Support for Marriage Between a Man and a Woman in New Zealand
Among the many actions at the October General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand was a resolution that "upheld the historic Christian understanding of marriage as the loving, faithful union of a man and a woman." There was also an approval of presbytery status for the Pacific Island churches giving them the corresponding autonomy and authority.

In another General Assembly...

6. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Sticks With The Status Quo
Presented with a number of major decisions the 220th GA of the PC(USA) chose to not divest from companies supporting Israeli occupation, to further consider restructuring synods, to propose no changes to the Book of Order related to marriage and preserve the special offerings in their current form.

7. The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission of the PC(USA) Decides Several Closely Watched Cases
Among the decisions handed down were a guilty verdict for conducting a same-gender marriage, a not-guilty verdict for participating in a same-gender wedding, a final case clearing the way for ordination of a same-gender partnered candidate, a clarification and restriction related to the trust clause and dismissal of congregations and a decision invalidating a presbytery's statement of behavioral standards for ordained officers.

8. Presbyterian Church In Ireland Statements On Violent Attacks
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, in statements by the Moderator of the General Assembly, Dr. Roy Patton, expressed their concern following the killing of a prison guard in November and the December attempted murder of a police officer.

9. New Reformed Body
At a Covenanting Conference last January in Orlando, Florida, the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (later renamed the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians) was formed. Over the year a number of churches have been dismissed to the Order, although a November Synod PJC decision has raised questions as to whether it is a Reformed body that churches can be dismissed to.

10. Presbyterians and the Elections in Ghana
Throughout the year there were statements and activity by both the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana leading up to the elections in the fall. After a series of exchanges the government did offer an apology for a misunderstanding. The church's involvement was not always viewed favorably.

A couple of other noteworthy news items this past year that caught my attention:

The religious violence in Nigeria which has touched all the Christians including the Presbyterians.

The Affordable Care Act in the US was endorsed by the PC(USA) Office of the General Assembly but which has some Presbyterians, including PC(USA) affiliated College of the Ozarks and branches like the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, endorsing broad religious exemptions.

A PC(USA) and EPC ruling elder and Provost of Whitworth University, Michael K. Le Roy Ph.D., was named the President of the Christian Reformed Church of North America's Calvin College.

So there you have my list — as always your mileage may vary.

And so, as we begin 2013 I wish all of you the best for the new year and that your lives may be decent and in order, but that you also have the appropriate balance of ardor and order.

Happy New Year!
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