GA2019 logo Holy SpiritThe 2019 meeting of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada met in Waterloo, Ontario, June 2–6, 2019.

After a process of prayerful discernment, the following recommendations were adopted:

1. That the following be approved and remitted to presbyteries under the Barrier Act: The Presbyterian Church in Canada holds two parallel definitions of marriage and recognizes that faithful, Holy Spirit filled, Christ centred, God honouring people can understand marriage as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman or as a covenant relationship between two adult persons.

That congregations, sessions, ruling and teaching elders be granted liberty of conscience and action on marriage.

2. That the following be approved and remitted to presbyteries under the Barrier Act: That congregations and presbyteries may call and ordain as ministers and elect and ordain as ruling elders LGBTQI persons (married or single) with the provision that liberty of conscience and action regarding participation in ordinations, inductions and installations be granted to ministers and ruling elders.

The Barrier Act is a process of decision making within The Presbyterian Church in Canada that stipulates changes in doctrine or law be approved by two General Assemblies and a majority of presbyteries, whose membership represents a majority of ministers, members of the Order of Diaconal Ministries and elders on their constituent rolls.

With the approval of the above two recommendations, the first of this three-step process has taken place.

Between now and the 2020 General Assembly, presbyteries will vote on the recommendations (now known as ‘remits’) and if a majority is reached in that step, the 2020 General Assembly may pass the recommendations into the law and policy of the church, which would be the third step.

Additional recommendations were adopted as follows:

3. That the Clerks of Assembly be instructed to provisionally prepare guidelines to ensure that calls to LGBTQI ministers and the election of LGBTQI elders are facilitated in presbyteries and congregations.

4. That the Moderator write a pastoral letter to the church.

5. That as a matter of urgency, the Life and Mission Agency provide a means for those affected by this decision to express their concerns, views and pain in a safe environment, and that these concerns be reported back to the 2020 General Assembly before the report on remits is received and its recommendations considered.

The Rev. Stephen Kendall
Principal Clerk

The Rev. Don Muir
Deputy Clerk

Image of arrow pointing down2019 General Assembly Summary of Decisions Regarding Human Sexuality

The Barrier Act is a process of decision making within The Presbyterian Church in Canada that stipulates changes in doctrine or law be approved by two General Assemblies and a majority of presbyteries, whose membership represents a majority of ministers, members of the Order of Diaconal Ministries and elders on their constituent rolls.

With the approval of the above two recommendations, the first of this three-step process has taken place. Between now and the 2020 General Assembly, presbyteries will vote on the recommendations (now known as ‘remits’) and if a majority is reached in that step, the 2020 General Assembly may pass the recommendations into the law and policy of the church which would be the third step.