The Session of Cheyne Stoney Creek humbly submits the following overture to the Presbytery of Hamilton requesting that the Presbytery of Hamilton transmit the overture to the General Assembly, preferably with approval, with the request that the overture be referred to Assembly Council.
To the Venerable, the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada:
WHEREAS, since 2014 many studies, overtures, and debates focusing on LGBTQI matters have revealed a deeply divided denomination; and
WHEREAS, despite many serious attempts to resolve these deep divisions, the numerous dissents and expressions of profound pain at the 145th General Assembly demonstrate that these separations remain and discussion across the church indicates that they could even be deepening; and
WHEREAS, although Remits B and C, adopted at the 145th General Assembly, were intended to bridge these differences, they do not effectively do so for many in our denomination; and
WHEREAS, whether Remits B and C are adopted or defeated, these divisions will continue to dominate our denomination; and
WHEREAS, it will be difficult for presbyters with different understandings of the biblical view on marriage to be mutually responsible to and submissive to one another; and
WHEREAS, whether Remits B and C are adopted or defeated, a significant number of members, regardless of their theology, may consider leaving, causing great pain, reducing many congregations’ viability, and decreasing resources for ministry, mission, and Presbyterian Sharing; and
WHEREAS, the changes proposed through Remits B and C do not safeguard either ecclesiastically or civilly the freedom of conscience and action as indicated by the variation in how the terms are defined in the opinion of the General Assembly clerks in “Presbyterian Connections” (September 2019), in the opinion from the legal firm Kuhn LLP, and in the opinion from the legal firm Miller Thomson LLP; and
WHEREAS, congregations need to be guaranteed a permanent place in the PCC where they can continue to do ministry in an ecclesiastical structure that safeguards a shared understanding of key Christian doctrines such as the authority of Scripture, the virgin birth, the resurrection, holy living and heterosexual marriage that are affirmed in our subordinate standards to which all our ministers and elders subscribed at their ordinations; and
WHEREAS, it is essential to help both those who hold an affirming position regarding human sexuality and those who hold a traditional position regarding human sexuality to be able to obey the way they believe God is calling them to lovingly serve the LGBTQI community, to perform marriages, and to conduct ordinations, even although those ways are very different; and
WHEREAS, the concept of restructuring the PCC underlying Pathway C of the former Moderators’ report was supported by numerous dissenters to the Pathway B decision at the 2019 General Assembly; and
WHEREAS, the spirit embodied in the Pathway C restructuring allows for a large number of people within our denomination to maintain their understanding of Scripture’s authority and to respect those who differ; and
WHEREAS, a Pathway C restructuring permits a possible combined pension plan, while acknowledging that the theological positions of the Affirming stream and the Traditional stream are too different to expect harmonious continuation without a definite legal separation;
THEREFORE, the Session of Cheyne Presbyterian Church, Stoney Creek, Ontario, humbly overtures the 146th General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada to create a process and legislation that will graciously restructure The Presbyterian Church in Canada to form two separate entities – Affirming and Traditional – embracing the spirit of Pathway C of the Special Committee of Former Moderators’ Report, allowing each congregation to choose to follow their understanding of God’s will within a legally separate entity, which should protect the civil liability of leadership who continue to follow their vows;
Or to do otherwise as the General Assembly in its wisdom may deem best.