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9,388 PC(USA) Clergy Impacted in Marriage Equality States


More Light Presbyterians has compiled an approximate count of Teaching Elders in the Presbyterian Church (USA) who minister in states that provide marriage equality or civil unions for same-sex couples. Current PC(USA) policy places many of these clergy in an untenable situation – choosing to provide this pastoral care for the people they’ve been called to serve, or withholding it in order to comply with the current language in the Directory for Worship in the Book of Order.

Nineteen states – CA, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, and WA – plus Washington, D.C. have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The statistics in this report only include marriage equality and civil union states. In an additional eleven states, judges have issued rulings in favor of the freedom to marry, with many of these rulings now stayed as they proceed to appellate courts: In AR, ID, MI, OK, TX, UT, and VA judges have struck down marriage bans, and in IN, KY, OH, and TN, judges have issued more limited pro-marriage rulings.

The following Teaching Elder counts are based on the Office of the General Assembly (OGA)’s 2010 Presbytery Membership and 2012 GA Commissioners (pdf) report. Teaching Elders impacted in states providing equal marriage and civil unions:

  • Marriage Equality States: 9,388 Teaching Elders (44% of all 21,161 TEs)
  • Civil Union States: 389 Teaching Elders (2% of all 21,161 TEs)
  • Marriage Equality & Civil Union States: 9,777 Teaching Elders (46% of all 21,161 TEs)

To view a breakdown of where state laws stand, visit Freedom to Marry.

Marriage Equality States to Presbyteries

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has over 10,000 congregations which are organized into 173 presbyteries (district governing bodies) and 16 synods (regional governing bodies). The statistics below present marriage equality states organized by synods with presbyteries/teaching elder counts listed under each state.

Presbyterian Church (USA) Synods/Presbyteries Map

PCUSA Synods

Synod of Alaska/Northwest

Washington (WA)

  • Central Washington (70 Teaching Elders)
  • Inland Northwest (106 Teaching Elders)
  • North Puget Sound (102 Teaching Elders)
  • Olympia (138 Teaching Elders)
  • Seattle (230 Teaching Elders)

Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Iowa (IA)

  • Des Moines (79 Teaching Elders)
  • East Iowa (114 Teaching Elders)
  • John Knox (57 Teaching Elders in Iowa)
  • Missouri River Valley (82 Teaching Elders)
  • North Central Iowa (67 Teaching Elders)
  • Prospect Hill (57 Teaching Elders)

Minnesota (MN)

  • Northern Plains (39 Teaching Elders)
  • Northern Waters (57 Teaching Elders)
  • Minnesota Valleys (74 Teaching Elders)
  • Twin Cities Area (267 Teaching Elders)
  • John Knox (1 Teaching Elder)

Synod of Lincoln Trails

Illinois (IL)

  • Blackhawk (128 Teaching Elders)
  • Chicago (393 Teaching Elders)
  • Great Rivers (141 Teaching Elders)
  • Southeastern Illinois (110 Teaching Elders)

Synod of Mid-Atlantic

Delaware (DE)

  • New Castle (95 Teaching Elders in Delaware)

Maryland (MD)

  • Baltimore (166 Teaching Elders)
  • National Capital (352 Teaching Elders)
  • New Castle (25 Teaching Elders in Maryland)

Washington, D.C.

  • National Capital (See MD)

Synod of the Northeast

Connecticut (CT)

  • Southern New England (165 Teaching Elders)

Maine (ME)

  • Northern New England (108 Teaching Elders)

Massachusetts (MA)

  • Boston (82 Teaching Elders)
  • Southern New England (See CT)

New Hampshire (NH)

  • Northern New England (See ME)

New Jersey (NJ)

  • Elizabeth (119)
  • Newton (100)
  • Newark (64)
  • New Brunswick (161)
  • Palisades (90)
  • Mommouth (87)
  • West Jersey (134)

New York (NY)

  • Albany (120 Teaching Elders)
  • Cayuga-Syracuse (60 Teaching Elders)
  • Genesee Valley (124 Teaching Elders)
  • Geneva Presbytery (72 Teaching Elders)
  • Hudson River (162 Teaching Elders)
  • Long Island (101 Teaching Elders)
  • New York City (241 Teaching Elders)
  • Northern New York (44 Teaching Elders)
  • Susquehanna Valley (64 Teaching Elders)
  • Utica (48 Teaching Elders)
  • Western New York (97 Teaching Elders)

Rhode Island (RI)

  • Southern New England (See CT)

Vermont (VT)

  • Northern New England (See ME)

Synod of the Pacific

California (CA)

  • Sacramento (143 Teaching Elders)
  • The Redwoods (163 Teaching Elders)
  • San Francisco (291 Teaching Elders)
  • Stockton (48 Teaching Elders)
  • San Jose (131 Teaching Elders)
  • San Joaquin (90 Teaching Elders)
  • Nevada (10 Teaching Elders)

Oregon (OR)

  • Cascades (372 Teaching Elders)
  • Eastern Oregon (16 Teaching Elders)

Synod of Southern California and Hawaii

California (CA) & Hawaii (HI)

  • Los Ranchos (185 Teaching Elders)
  • Pacific  (184 Teaching Elders – which includes Hawaii)
  • Riverside (113 Teaching Elders)
  • San Diego  (137 Teaching Elders)
  • San Fernando (95 Teaching Elders)
  • San Gabriel (198 Teaching Elders)
  • Santa Barbara (103 Teaching Elders)

Synod of the Southwest

New Mexico (NM)

  • de Christo (4 Teaching Elders in New Mexico)
  • Santa Fe (143 Teaching Elders)
  • Sierra Blanca (45 Teaching Elders)

Synod of the Trinity

Pennsylvania (PA)

  • Beaver-Butler (105 Teaching Elders)
  • Carlisle (129 Teaching Elders)
  • Donegal (167 Teaching Elders)
  • Huntingdon (61 Teaching Elders)
  • Kiskiminetas (69 Teaching Elders)
  • Lackawanna (56 Teaching Elders)
  • Lake Erie (68 Teaching Elders)
  • Lehigh (93 Teaching Elders)
  • Northumberland (53 Teaching Elders)
  • Philadelphia (356 Teaching Elders)
  • Pittsburgh (324 Teaching Elders)
  • Redstone (84 Teaching Elders)
  • Shenango (96 Teaching Elders)
  • Washington (63 Teaching Elders)

Civil Union States

Synod of the Rocky Mountains

  • Denver (186 Teaching Elders)
  • Plains & Peaks (90 Teaching Elders)
  • Pueblo (77 Teaching Elders)
  • Western Colorado (36 Teaching Elders)
One Comment Post a comment
  1. Thank you so much for preparing this visual of our current reality. It is deeply painful to be put in a position of choosing to provide the same pastoral care for your LGBTQ members you provide for everyone else or your ordination vows which were taken with deep commitment before God. It is helpful to see the real impact this decision has on our teaching elders.

    May 30, 2014

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