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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for July, 2013

Disciples of Christ Moves Toward Inclusion

Jim Burroway

July 19th, 2013

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), during their General Assembly this week in Orlando, approved resolution 1327 in which the church declares itself “a people of grace and welcome to all“:

…WHEREAS, the 1997 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) called for the church to give continuing research and reflection “concerning the participation of gay and lesbian persons in the full life and ministry of the Church”; and

WHEREAS, persons continue to be devalued and discriminated against within society and more sadly, within the church because of their sexual orientation and or gender identity; and

WHEREAS, Disciples find identity at the Lord’s table, sharing as the body of Christ, valuing each other in covenantal relationship even when we disagree; and

WHEREAS, Disciples historically affirm that individuals and congregations hold differing interpretations of scripture, but that all are called to transcend differences and claim one another in Christian unity;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly meeting in Orlando, Florida, July 13-17, 2013, calls upon the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to recognize itself as striving to become a people of grace and welcome to all God’s children though differing in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability, political stance or theological perspective; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly calls upon the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to affirm the faith, baptism and spiritual gifts of all Christians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that neither is grounds for exclusion from fellowship or service within the church, but we celebrate that all are part of God’s good creation; and

The resolution, which passed with 75% of the vote, does not address same-sex marriage or ordination of LGBT clergy. The church’s decentralized church structure leaves questions of ordination to its regional bodies, and resolutions like this one are non-binding. According to Wikipedia:

Northern California is the only region labeled as Open and Inclusive; however, the Ohio Commission on Ministry (the body that grants ordination) has decided that sexual orientation is not a criterion for ordination. At the 2012 Regional Assemblies, a number of Disciples regions (including Kentucky and Indiana) joined Ohio in eliminating sexual orientation as a restriction for ordination. Other regions are in the process of investigating the matter, mostly on a polity (since congregations determine ethical fitness for candidates and hire their ministers) and not a theological basis.