Same Gender Marriage Resolution

 In News

Background:

For over a decade, the Prince of Peace community has been in dialogue on issues of sexuality—and its relationship to marriage and leadership.  In early 2013, the Minnesota legislature passed a law legalizing same-gender marriage.  Shortly thereafter, we, as the Prince of Peace board of directors, committed ourselves to a process of discernment—seeking to determine how our faith community would best respond to this change.  Discernment has taken many forms, including board retreats, prayer, reading, study, discussions with several area churches, and dozens of conversations with ELCA leadership, seminary professors, lay leaders, and members of Prince of Peace.  Throughout, we have given careful attention to how scripture may speak into this issue.  It became quickly clear to us that faithful, God-loving brothers and sisters interpret scripture in vastly different ways—in general, as well as with specific passages relating to sexuality.  Our proposed resolution intends to highlight core elements of the long-standing vision of Prince of Peace and provide a path forward on these important matters, knowing that additional dialogue and discernment will be necessary as we move forward together as a community.

If passed by the Prince of Peace board of directors at its June meeting, what will this resolution do/not do?

  • This resolution would not require a pastor to officiate at a same-gender marriage ceremony.  Each pastor may choose to do so at his/her discretion.
  • This resolution would set no requirement on individual members of Prince of Peace to hold a certain opinion or perspective on sexuality and marriage.  We have found positions on this issue to be deeply rooted—and we recognize and value people regardless of their particular perspective.
  • All marriages would be held to the same high standard of mutual love and fidelity.
  • This policy/resolution would replace the current Prince of Peace board policy related to sexuality written in 2004.

 

Additional Readings:

  • Board members have read a variety of literature throughout the past year to help with our discernment.  The following documents, written from various perspectives on the issue have been helpful in our discernment process, and we recommend them to all wanting to dig deeper.  You can find links to these documents here:

 

Next Steps:

  • As always, the board continues to welcome feedback from the Prince of Peace community at boardofdirectors@popmn.org.
  • Prince of Peace members are welcome to attend the June 3 board meeting, at 5:30 p.m., now in the Family Room, in the lower level of the Christian Life Center.  A limited amount of time will be specifically set aside for congregational feedback. The board will vote on the proposed resolution at the June 3 meeting.
  • The board will vote on the proposed resolution at the June 3 meeting.

 

Proposed Resolution:

  • Whereas we recognize the diversity of perspectives among the people of Prince of Peace on the issue of sexual orientation–and we respect and value each member of our community.
  • Whereas we have thoughtfully discerned and sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we explore these issues in the context of our Prince of Peace community.
  • Whereas we recognize people with strongly held positions on both sides of the issue seek God’s will and seek to love God with their whole heart.
  • Whereas we believe there is more than enough room in the Prince of Peace community for people who hold widely divergent perspectives on this and other important social issues. Our unity is in Jesus, and is rooted in God’s profound love and grace extended to each of us.
  • Whereas we affirm the guiding vision of Prince of Peace, articulated in our “What We Believe” statements.  In particular, we affirm the following statements:

o   We believe that God is love and has created all things in love and for love. God exists in loving community as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, and draws us into relationship with God, one another and the world.

o   We believe that the Bible is the inspired witness of God’s people throughout history. We believe that the Bible is true primarily in the sense that it truly points to Jesus, the Truth, who is the Word of God incarnate. While God speaks to us through the written word, Jesus is the Living Word. We read the Bible through the lens of the Gospel, God’s Good News for all people.

o   Empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit we are called to love, worship and glorify God, and proclaim God’s love and forgiveness in word and deed. In each and every role of life – friend, employee, family member, citizen, neighbor – we are called to be about God’s mission, revealing the Kingdom of God, proclaiming the Gospel and partnering with God in the work of reconciliation.

  • Therefore, we as the board of directors of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church resolve that all people, regardless of sexual orientation, shall be entitled to participate fully in the life of the church, share all rites and sacraments—including marriage—and be considered for any staff or lay leadership position.

 

If you would like to print a copy of this article, you can get a .pdf here.

You’ll find more articles on Same Gender Marriage conversation at Prince of Peace here.

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