A VOW Editorial
Commissioners’ Resolution 00-2 passed the General Assembly entitling
employees of the PC(USA) to ‘maintain personal membership in any of the
Presbyterian groups that are not part of the official structure of the
church and/or any ecumenical organization; and to use church-provided travel
funds to attend any meeting sponsored by an unofficial Presbyterian group or
ecumenical organization that the employee, in consultation with her/his
supervisor, determines is relevant to his/her work for the church.”
There is a history to CR 00-2 of which most commissioners were probably
Several year’s ago the staff of the Women’s Ministry Program Area was told
by Frank Diaz, then interim General Assembly Council Executive, that church
funds could not be used for the purpose of attending the Re-Imagining
Revival. Staffers were told that if they wanted to attend the Re-Imaging
Revival, they would have do it on their own time, and pay for it out of
their own pocket. And, many of them did.
The reason for Diaz’s authoritative decision was that the church had
suffered great pain following the original Re-Imagining Conference in 1993.
Schism was averted only when a cautiously thoughtful General Assembly found
that the theology of the Re-Imagining movement went beyond the boundaries
not only of Presbyterianism, but also of the entire Christian faith. As a
consequence, Diaz decided that it would be wrong to permit GA staffers to
use their study leave to attend.
His decision, of course, was not well received within the Women’s Ministry
Program Area. It was met with anger and frustration by staffers who believed
that in spite of the findings of the Assembly, the church should pay for
them to attend.
For now, it looks like they have succeeded in reversing Diaz’s policy.
Another Re-Imagining conference will be held this fall in Minneapolis, and
Presbyterian staffers will be able to attend on the church’s “nickel.”
How soon we forget or perhaps more accurately, how soon we become immune to
the incremental assault of impious viruses.
The theology of Re-Imagining that gave such offense and caused such outrage
in every mainline denomination in 1993, is now just 7 years later being
spoken of as being perfectly acceptable. In fact, interim Associate Director
of the Women’s Ministry Program Area, Jane Parker Huber, was recently quoted
in an _Outlook_ article (_’Debate Over Women’s Programs Continues As
Presbyterian Women Gather in Louisville”)  _ as saying that the reaction
that many people have to Re-Imagining is “too bad.” She then offered that
it’s a great idea “to reimagine what the church would be like in the
future,” and ended her comment by suggesting that opposition to Re-Imagining
is about controlling how women think and pray.
Well Ms. Huber, VOW’s opposition to Re-Imagining has nothing to do with a
desire to control, nor is it about abusing or doing violence to women. VOW
opposes Re-Imagining philosophy because it rejects the ecumenical witness of
the apostolic church.
Relative to the recent decision of the General Assembly, the sad fact is
that money that has been given to support the mission of the church will now
be spent to pay “study leave” expenses for General Assembly staffers to “be
trained” at an event whose openly expressed purpose is to break down the
historic faith of the church and “re-imagine” a new one that is more
amenable to the socialistic and panentheistic principles of radical feminist
philosophy. Remember, it is the working assumption of the Re-Imagining
community that the Christian faith was “imagined” by a patriarchal church,
and that it is now women’s turn to reimagine the church.
The real issue, here, of course is the nature and authority of scripture.
If The Bible merely reflects the “imagination” of men, then there is nothing
wrong or unreasonable about the Re-Imagining movement. But, if it is the
self-revelation of God, then the Re-Imagining philosophy (dare we say it?)
What General Assembly Commissioners were told was merely reasonable and fair
was, in VOW’s opinion, a terribly flawed proposal that will have seriously
negative consequences for the WMPA and the church.
But, the decision has been made at least for this year.