Same Gender Marriage Update

same_sex_marriage

July 11 Update

On August 1st, a new law in Minnesota will allow for same gender marriages. The current policy at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church does not allow the blessing of same gender unions. But the question remains: at some point in the future, should pastors marry same gender couples? Before Jeff Marian, our Lead Pastor, left for sabbatical, he wanted the congregation to know that he had come to the conclusion that our congregation should be both welcoming and affirming and that pastors who choose to do so may bless these unions.

We had two open forums in May and have another forum scheduled on July 28 from 11 – 12:30 in the Community Room whereby folks could hear Pastor Jeff’s position (stated by Pastor Paul Gauche) and talk about their own beliefs and concerns, as well as how we can live together as we discern such a change.

While the law goes into effect August 1, Prince of Peace’s Board of Directors has not set a date as to when they might come to a conclusion around this issue so nothing changes for us at this time. We expect to hold another forum early in the fall and we will continue to ask for your prayers and input. The important thing is this:  How do we respect others’ opinions and not come out of this or any future controversial issue without winners and losers? So, be present, be informed, but foremost, be graceful – as that truly is the hallmark of being a Lutheran.


June 5 Update

On May 28 and May 30, Prince of Peace Staff and Board hosted Respectful Conversations on becoming a welcoming and affirming church. Approximately 240 people attended the events. Pastor Jeff Marian opened the gathering with a narrative of his journey regarding homosexuality and faith. The participants then gathered for discussion around these same issues. The sessions wrapped up with a Q & A with Jeff and the Board. Jeff’s position statement is posted below, as is the ELCA sponsored studies in 2009 exploring biblical research on homosexuality.

We are deeply grateful to all who participated in what were truly thoughtful and personal conversations. We also thank those who continue to send in thoughts regarding Prince of Peace Lutheran Church becoming both a welcoming and affirming church. The Board will continue to study and discern Jeff’s position as well as plans for another listening session to be scheduled this summer.


Pastor Jeff’s Recommendation

While it is Pastor Jeff’s responsibility, as the spiritual leader of our congregation, to make recommendations of this kind, it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to set policy at Prince of Peace. And so, the Board will continue to wrestle with this policy issue, and has been discussing this for some time. If/when Prince of Peace becomes both Welcoming and Affirming, clergy will work at the discretion of their conscience, as will all staff. The new law effective August 1, does not affect our policy per se as marriage continues to be a legal/state issue while blessings in a church continue to be a religious issue.

Read Pastor Jeff’s recommendation to the Board of Directors (.pdf)


Further Study

In an on-going effort to provide helpful and informative resources regarding same sex issues, we want to provide the following links to help your continued study and thoughtful conversations.

ELCA Sexuality Study (.pdf) | Discussion Guide (.pdf)


Contact

Please reach out to the Board (Email) if you have questions. Last, but never least, please continue to pray for wisdom, clarity and discernment as the process continues.

  • Daryl Tweeton

    An important question at the July 28 Conversation was how to
    proceed in a manner that shows respect for others’ opinions. I have
    two suggestions based on comments and questions at the meeting, discussing the issue with other people, and my own thoughts.

    1. Allow the same-sex marriage issue to be decided by a vote of the entire congregation rather than just the Board. There are many issues requiring detailed knowledge of the budget and other considerations that are best decided by the Board, and we all owe them our gratitude for their work for us. However, this question is different, being primarily a moral issue. Everyone at our discussion table believed that the congregation should have a vote, and questions at the end indicated the same opinion. The argument that the Board should decide because of being elected was not persuasive because the church election allowed only the one choice of accepting or rejecting all candidates listed together. PoP rules give the Board the authority to decide, but the Board can make a strong example of showing respect for everyone’s opinion by agreeing to abide by the results of a vote of the congregation.

    2. Provide equal opportunity for people in favor of and opposed to the new recommendations to present their reasons. At the July 28 Conversation, the two presentations in favor of the new recommendations and the discussions at tables limited to questions written by the staff took nearly all of the time. There was little time for open questions from the group as a whole. To respect others’ opinions, the next Conversation should provide time for people on both sides of the issue to briefly address the entire group.
    Also, a link to the present policy should be put on the PoP website,
    just as there is to the new recommendations. People who have not read our present policy might assume it criticizes homosexuals and bans them from important church positions, but it does not. I expect that for many people, becoming familiar with our present policy will convince them there is no need to change it.

  • Duane Duffey

    My Partner and I are wanting to become members of POP and would like to also be married in Prince of Peace Church this next summer. I am hoping that this will pass the board and not have to be sent to the entire congregation for a vote.

  • Jeffrey Loken

    My partner and I would like to become members of POP and would like to get married at the church next year. Why can’t the board make a decision with the advice of Pastor Jeff. It doesn’t need to go before the congregation first. My previous Lutheran Church I was a member of, the council members did the voting.

  • bill strong

    Read the gospel. The answer is clear if you truly believe and follow Jesus. We and many other people will be leaving if you choose to rewrite the word of the Lord.

  • bill strong

    By the way…there are some great congregations in the south metro that have growing youth programs, great music and stay true to Jesus teachings. River Valley Church and Community of Hope to name a few.

A congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America