Petition 81144

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Congregations' Rights (81144-LC-¶262)

   Amend ¶ 262 :
   ¶ 262. Local congregations enjoy a number of rights that shall not be denied or questioned by others outside the congregation, including:
    1. Property and Title Rights
Nothing in the Plan and Basis of Union...affect said title or control.
   2. Liturgical and Other Rights—In accordance with Article XXII of the Articles of Religion and Article XIII of the Confession of Faith, the decisions on these issues belong to the congregation alone:
   a) the choice of worship hymnals and pew Bible translations.
   b) the degree to which gender-neutral or traditional language shall be used in worship or in other church settings, including the free use of Biblical titles such as “Father,” “Son,” “Lord” and “King.”
   c) whether or not to offer ashes at Ash Wednesday observances.
   d) whether or not to display the national flag or other symbols, when done in accordance with national laws or customs.

Rationale

These rights should be obvious. They’re secondary issues, where freedom of conscience and action rule (Romans 14:5). Unfortunately, pastors and other leaders, demanding conformity in hymnal or pew Bible choice and in the other issues, have provoked bitter strife. Let’s declare “home rule” and end the quarreling.