Wednesday, January 30, 2008

30 January 2008


[1] Auburn Avenue Departs
[2] Secret Police Pressure Kazakhstan Presbyterians
[3] Presbyterian Foundation Obtains US$1 Million for Staff
[4] Capetz Returns to the PC(USA) Ministry
[5] Bucky Brown Joins Staff at Clover

Auburn Avenue Departs

On 27 January 2008 the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church voted without dissent to withdraw from the
Presbyterian Church in America in order to become a mission church of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches under the oversight of the Grace Covenant Church of Nacogdoches, Texas. Pastor Steve Wilkins has been a key figure in the dispute over what Presbyterians term the Federal Vision. Commonly churches in the CREC practice Paedocommunion.

+ Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church, 224 Auburn Avenue, Monroe, Louisiana 71201 (318) 323-3061

Secret Police Pressure Kazakhstan Presbyterians

The government says, “People are not persecuted on religious grounds in Kazakhstan.” After a 17-hour raid on Grace Presbyterian Church in Almaty ranging over the night of 25 and 26 January, local Presbyterians are not convinced.

The denomination of more than 300 congregations began to experience serious problems when the Financial Police raided the denominational headquarters in Karaganda for 15-hous August 2007.

The Almaty congregation occupies a building on one of the city’s main streets and numbers about 5,000 members.

According to published reports, Kazahk authorities suspect the denomination’s founder Yoseph Yu is a spy. An American citizen of South Korean origin, Yu now lives in Seoul and oversees the international Grace Presbyterian movement which he initiated in 1991. Yu was deported from Russia in August 2002 and banned from entering Kazakhstan in May 2005.

Other key figures in the spread of Korean Presbyterianism across formerly closed regions of Asia have also experienced interference from state authorities.

+ Forum18, Postboks 6603, Rodel√łkka, N-0502 Oslo, Norway

Presbyterian Foundation Obtains US$1 Million for Staff

The Presbyterian Foundation, an instrument of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has received a US$1 Million donation from the Mark D. Hostettler and Alexander N. Habib Foundation in Boston to support a staff position for work with the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association. The structure works with some 140 affiliated camps and conference centers servicing an average of 1.5 million participants each year.

+ The Presbyterian Foundation, 200 E. Twelfth Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47130 (800) 858-6127

Capetz Returns to the PC(USA) Ministry

The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area voted Jan. 26 to restore the ordination of Paul Capetz, an openly gay man, as minister of word and sacrament. Capetz had laid aside his ordination in 2000 in response to the 1997 addition of G-6.0106b to the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Book of Order. The section requires ordained church officers to practice “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and woman or chastity in singleness.”

In asking the presbytery to restore his ordination, Capetz declared a principled objection or “scruple,” noting that he could not affirm G-6.0106b, and cited the 2006 General Assembly’s authoritative interpretation of The Book of Order section G-6.0108 that allows candidates to raise principled objections and reaffirms the presbytery’s responsibility to determine fitness of candidates.

Capetz claimed the fidelity and chastity amendment makes it necessary for homosexuals to take a “vow of celibacy” if they seek or hold ordained office. Capetz said such a vow is inappropriate because one’s sexuality is “inescapable” and that the vow creates a “false kind of works righteousness.”

In two separate votes, the presbytery determined that Capetz’s declared departure from ordination standards regarding sexual practice did not constitute a failure to adhere to the essentials of Reformed faith and polity, and then restored Capetz to office.

+ Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202

Bucky Brown Joins Staff at Clover

Dr. Chuck Baynard of the Christian Observer has announced that Rev. Mr. James (Bucky) Brown will join him on the staff of the Clover Evangelical Presbyterian Church as Minster for Small Groups. Brown has an extensive background both in the pastorate and in expanded diaconal services.

+ Clover Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 101 Marion Street, Clover, South Carolina 29710 (803) 222-4876