Sunday, July 28, 2013

Disciples Of Christ Church Officially Welcomes TBLG People To Its Churches

disciples of christ 300x199 Disciples of Christ Vote to Embrace Gay Members, LeadersDuring the time I was a Texan in Exile in Louisville, Edenside Christian Church, the one I attended from 2001-2010 and was a proud member of was part of the Disciples of Christ (Christian) Church denomination.

I was even prouder to 'slliiiiiiide into Edenside' after the congregation voted in 2008 to become an open and affirming church. 

So I was ecstatic to read that at the recent yearly Disciples of Christ meeting that took place July 13-17 in Orlando they passed Resolution GA 1327 that stated:

“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.”

One of the sponsoring churches for this resolution was our larger and down Bardstown Road neighbor in Douglass Ave Christian Church. 

Translation: If you're a trans, bi or same gender loving person, you are welcome to attend, participate in and become a member of a Disciples of Christ congregation.

There was a July 19 letter from Rev Dr Sharon Watkins, the General Minister and President of the Disciples of Christ Church in the United States and Canada clarifying the intent of this resolution. 

*It is not a statement of “unwelcome” for Disciples who did not support the resolution. All who confess faith in Jesus Christ are welcome. All means all

*It is not a policy change. The congregation where you worship and serve will not be requested to establish (or change) a policy on gay or lesbian persons in the life of the Church. The region where your congregation is affiliated is not required to change its policies on ordination. Your pastor is not required to bless same-gender marriages.

*It is not a theological mandate. It does not say that we have the same biblical understanding of sexual orientation or gender identity. Disciples, prayerfully and with biblical study and other research, come to their own understanding on these matters.

Rev. Watkins' letter goes on to say:  It points out that within the broad membership of Disciples, among the many congregations in covenant with each other, there have always been gay and straight, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender persons who participate fully in the life and leadership of the church. It urges us to treat each other with gospel hospitality as we seek to understand each other better.”

And that's a point I think we can all agree on.   But this is also wonderful news to a TBLG community that has seen far too many efforts by religious denominations to exclude, dehumanize and denigrate it instead of opening their church doors wide to embrace them as fellow human beings and brothers and sisters in Christ.

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