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February 26, 2002

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Dear Editor:

Jim Tony asks whether the Constitution of the PC(USA) will remain effectual in the face of what seems to be a determined strategy to disregard G-6.0106b by some of the supporters of failed Amendment 01-A. The stakes here are not only anarchy (the opposites of peace and purity), but unity itself.

The Constitution is, in a sense, a contract among the various Presbyteries and congregations in which we all agree to follow certain rules and principles. Congregations give up certain powers to higher governing bodies in exchange for those governing bodies enforcing what is required by the Constitution. We make decisions as a denomination according to the Constitution and all are required to comply, even when we disagree.

If Hudson River Presbytery does not enforce or follow the Constitution, and if our GA officers do nothing, can Hudson Valley in good conscience seek to prevent the Circleville congregation from leaving the denomination? In effect, the Presbytery and GA have breached their bargain, and trust, with the local congregation to abide by and enforce the Constitution. How can they then enforce their own powers under that same Constitution? Those who wish to preserve our unity, and I am among them, would do well to follow the Constitution across the Board, and not selectively.

Craig Tenke asserts, with some truth, that the problem is trust. How can conservatives and moderates trust the liberals when they refuse to abide by the Constitution, or search for loopholes in it, even when the voice of the whole Church is clear?

Whitman Brisky
Elder & Clerk of Session
First Presbyterian Church Evanston, Illinois

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