From the Moderator's election to the final "amen," the Presbyterian General Assembly of 2006 was largely a triumph for the loyalist center.
I know that publicly some conservatives are saying the Assembly broke trust with Presbyterianism, and the newspapers claim that now congregations can ordain gay ministers if they wish. And I am sure that privately some liberals are lamenting that they didn't get "chastity and fidelity" out of the constitution and God the Mother in. But, overall, I would say that the center of the church rose to the occasion of both kinds of challenges and chose a path that would best preserve the Presbyterian Church.
All of the moderator candidates ran as centrists, and the winner, our Moderator Joan Gray, is an ambivalent conservative who stands on the constitution. That might be a summary of where most Presbyterians stand.
The traditional language of the Trinity was affirmed, and the Assembly made it mandatory in baptism.
The Assembly overwhelmingly turned back an attempt to take G 6.0106b, the chastity and fidelity provision, out of the constitution.
The GA came out for the birth of all viable babies, and promoted material as well as pastoral support for them and their mothers.
The GA came out against torture and suicide bombing (I am surprised that there were any negative votes on this one, but at least the center clearly held).
The church corrected an imbalanced critique of businesses supporting violence and oppression in Israel and Palestine.
Most importantly, the General Assembly adopted the Peace, Unity, and Purity report. This means that we should all trust the locals more to apply the constitution – without changing the constitution. The ban on unrepentant homosexual practitioners is still there, along with the ban on unrepentant adulterers and usurers and all the other kinds of sinners named by the confessions. And where the original report was unclear that the higher governing bodies could review both the procedure and the substance of ordination examinations, the Assembly fixed the language.
The sound constitution of the church was preserved and strengthened by the 2006 General Assembly meeting in Birmingham. Now we need to apply it.