The Church Orders Committee voted to delete the "chastity and fidelity" amendment from the Book of Order.
In its place the committee proposes this new standard:
Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003), pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate’s sincere efforts to adhere to these standards.
The vote was 41 - 11. Many on the losing conservative side did not return after dinner for the voting.
Liberals have tried to delete the chastity and fidelity standard twice before. One of the liberal proponents of this current deletion attempt, Rev. Sue Fisher, said “One day this will be deleted,if not today then some day and I want to give the Assembly the opportunity to determine if this is the day.”
I have found that many liberals have a sense that history is on their side. At the same time, they are more pessimistic about the future of the church than the conservatives tend to be.
There may come a time when the presbyteries trust one another to judge justly enough, without having to spell out a national standard. That time has clearly not come. I think the only effect of yet another attempt to delete the sexual behavior standard from the constitution will be to drive out more congregations that are sick of having to re-fight this fight.