Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leader nominated for a third term but faces challenger

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) A nominating committee has decided unanimously to put the denomination's stated clerk (chief executive) the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick up for re-election to a third four-year term at a summer church assembly.

Kirkpatrick faces one announced challenger, the Rev. Robert Davis of San Marcos, Calif., a one-time attorney and executive director of the conservative Presbyterian Forum. Presbyterian News Service said the Rev. Linn ''Rus'' Howard of Venetia, Pa., is another possible candidate.

Davis and Howard have said Kirkpatrick failed to enforce the church constitution's ban on actively gay clergy and lay officeholders. But the nominating committee said Kirkpatrick operated ''with appropriate firmness and with tact.''

Meanwhile, the status of an important conservative leader is under challenge. The Presbyterians' western North Carolina unit invalididated the Rev. Parker Williamson's ministry as head of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, though he remains on the clergy rolls. Williamson plans to appeal.

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