Overture from Western Han-Ca Presbytery

To the Venerable 146th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada:

WHEREAS, Korean congregations from 1967 onwards entered into a mutual covenant with the Presbyterian Church in Canada for the reason that our theological and doctrinal beliefs, expression of faith and worship, and governance were in consonance with those of the Presbyterian Church in Canada; and

WHEREAS, these beliefs of the Presbyterian Church in Canada are found in our subordinate standards – the Westminster Confession of Faith adopted in 1875 and 1889, the Declaration Concerning Church and Nation of 1954, and Living Faith (and its translations) adopted in 1998; and

WHEREAS, each minister and elder ordained in The Presbyterian Church in Canada has vowed to accept and uphold the teaching and doctrine contained in our subordinate standards, and under the continual illumination and correction of the Holy Spirit speaking in Scriptures; and

WHEREAS, the decisions and recommendations made at the 145th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada in 2019 indicate a departure in the beliefs, character and identity of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and now presents itself to be a different denomination from the one which we first entered into mutual covenant with; and

WHEREAS, this change in the nature of our denomination is clearly evident in remits B and C of the 145th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, which are in contradiction to our subordinate standards; and

WHEREAS, this change in the nature of our denomination is not only evident in the proposals outlined in Remits B and C, but are rather symptomatic of the wider departure in beliefs of our denomination as evidenced in the statement by the convenor of the Special Committee re Implications of Option B (Inclusion) that was received without objection, “In truth we differ theologically on many things; the role of scripture, the virgin birth, the resurrection, the place of children, of women and the priorities of the church” (2019 A&P, pg. 49), much of which also contradicts our subordinate standards (our Beliefs on Scripture – WCF I, XIV.i, XIV.ii, XVIIL.ii, XIX, XXI.v; LF – 1.3, 1.4, 5, 8.1.5; our beliefs on the virgin birth – WCF 8.2; LF 3.2.1; our beliefs on the resurrection – WCF VIII.iv, XL.i, XXXII; LF 2.1.4, 3.5.1, 3.5.2, 10.4); and

WHEREAS, this departure from the subordinate standards by many in the denomination is not without a damaging effect and impact upon Han-Ca congregations, and greatly undermines the evangelism and the public witness of Han-Ca congregations within the Korean-Canadian community, and poses a real and significant challenge for the Pastoral ministry of current members, some of whom have expressed the intent to withdraw their membership and leave the Presbyterian Church in Canada because of the change in the nature of the denomination as evidenced in the remits; and

WHEREAS, the continued movement away from the subordinate standards of the Presbyterian Church in Canada that were the basis of our covenant with the denomination, despite the unambiguous opposition of Han-Ca congregations, has functioned to silence the collective voice of the ethnically Korean congregations and threatens the existence of our congregations as we currently stand; and

WHEREAS, the provision for liberty of conscience and liberty of action in the remits does not mitigate the aforementioned threats and challenges to the healthy ministry of the congregations within the Han-Ca presbyteries because of the denominationally sanctioned departure from the subordinate standards; and

WHEREAS, the liberty of conscience and action in the remits cannot be guaranteed in perpetuity, according to the Book of Forms, and as evidenced in the history of that provision for the ordination of women which was granted in 1966 and revoked in 1982; and

WHEREAS, the joint petition of Western and Eastern Han Ca Presbyteries to the 143rd General Assembly in 2017 called for unity and expressed our desire to work with the denomination on moderate changes on the matters of human sexuality, and

WHEREAS, we, as Presbyterians, passionately love The Presbyterian Church in Canada, its mission and its ministry and in spite of our differences both culturally and theologically, we would prefer to remain one body and a part of The Presbyterian Church in Canada; and

WHEREAS in the face of potential passage of Remit B and C under the Barrier Act, the Western Presbytery, together with other traditionally orthodox congregations cannot accept the proposed changes in doctrine regarding the definition of marriage, nor the proposed practices of ordination as voiced in Remits B and C (2019) therefore feel we are being forcefully pushed to the edge of adoption of changes of doctrine and practice of the church or calling for a separation;

THEREFORE The Western Han-Ca Presbytery concludes that it is in the best interests of Korean congregations, sympathetically with other traditional-orthodox congregations, to seek departure from our beloved denomination, and we do so with great sadness. In the interests of enabling the mission of all congregations of the PCC, we hereby request that the General Assembly consider creating a partner or sister denomination (name to be determined), releasing the Han-Ca congregations and other traditional-orthodox congregations who wish to leave the PCC because of the theological differences that divide us. This new partner or sister denomination would share common resources including the Presbyterian Pension Plan, enabling all congregations in their mission and ministries according to their theological convictions. The Western Han-Ca humbly overtures the Venerable, the 146th General Assembly to consider our cry and prayer on this subject seeking the immediate action of this Assembly, or to do otherwise as the General Assembly, in its wisdom, may deem best.

Approved by:
Rev. Park, Hyo Jin,
Moderator, Western Han-Ca Presbytery
Rev. Ryu, Moon Hyun
Clerk, Western Han-Ca Presbytery