Removal of Conscience Clauses Ratified
On Thursday afternoon, General Synod officially ratified the removal of the "conscience clauses" from the Book of Church Order (BCO). Last year's General Synod voted to remove from the BCO the "conscience clauses"--statements that spell out how RCA members can and cannot conscientiously object to the ordination process of women.
In the time since General Synod 2012, the required two-thirds of RCA classes voted in support of synod's action, with 31 classes voting in favor of removing the clauses and 14 voting to keep the clauses.
Originally adopted in 1980, the "conscience clauses" were intended to maintain unity and peace despite a diversity of opinion concerning the ordination of women, which had been adopted by the RCA in 1979. (The RCA's ordained offices are deacon, elder, and minister of Word and sacrament.)