Presbyterian showdown over gay clergy averted

BY Advocate.com Editors

January 29 2003 1:00 AM ET

Conservatives in the Presbyterian Church (USA) have failed in their bid to force the denomination into an unprecedented showdown over enforcing a ban on gay clergy. Church leaders said Monday that 13 people who had signed a petition calling for a national meeting on the issue withdrew their names. That left conservatives short of the minimum number of signatures required under church law to call the special meeting.

The special assembly would have been the first ever held by the 214-year-old denomination.

The Reverend Fahed Abu-Akel, an Atlanta minister and the denomination's moderator, said, "There are no winners in this situation." He prayed for "unity in the midst of our diversity." Abu-Akel had written to petitioners, lobbying against the special assembly, which he said would cost $500,000 and divert attention from other church work.

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