Vote Sought on Gay Ordination

A conservative group in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will seek to put the issue of ordaining practicing homosexuals to a vote at the denomination's General Assembly in October despite a move by the church's General Board to keep the question off the agenda.

But a high-ranking church official predicts that Disciples Renewal, a group claiming to represent thousands of conservatives in the generally liberal 1-million-member denomination, faces an uphill battle in attempting to get the General Assembly to tackle the question.

The Disciples Renewal executive director, the Rev. Kevin Ray of Lovington, Ill., said his group hopes a measure rejecting the ordination of homosexuals can be considered at the Oct. 25-30 assembly under a special provision allowing for late submission of "emergency" resolutions.

At a meeting held in late July, the General Board rebuffed a request by 27 Disciples congregations asking that homosexual ordination be voted on by General Assembly delegates. Instead, the board opted to ask the General Assembly to consider making homosexuality a matter of formal study by the denomination.

Citing a study conducted by the denomination's Division of Homeland Ministries that he said depicted 80% of the church's membership as moderate to conservative, Ray asserted that most Disciples in the pews oppose the ordination of homosexuals.

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