By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com March 07 2003 1:00 AM ET
The top court in the Presbyterian Church (USA) will hold a trial on whether the Louisville, Ky.-based denomination should convene a special legislative session to address controversies over homosexuality. The church's permanent judicial commission has set a March 17 church trial in Kansas City, Mo., where it will hear an Ohio church's challenge to the denomination's moderator, the Reverend Fahed Abu-Akel. A regular General Assembly is scheduled for May, but it is unclear whether the church could organize a special session even if the court rules that it should do so.
On January 14, California church elder Alex Metherell filed a petition seeking to call the denomination's General Assembly into its first-ever special session. He wanted the session to respond to congregations that are defying church law by ordaining gays and holding wedding-like services for them. But Abu-Akel announced January 27 that he would not call the special session.
Westminster Presbyterian Church of Canton, Ohio, has filed a legal challenge, accusing Abu-Akel of ordering a revote once the petition was filed.