Faith leaders respond to Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) resolution welcoming LGBT people
Pedro Julio Serrano
WASHINGTON, July 18 — Faith leaders of welcoming church programs celebrated today the approval of a resolution that welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people at the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) meeting in Orlando, Fla., July 13-17, approved a resolution to welcome people regardless of their race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability, political stance or theological perspective.
It also 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.”
Responses from leaders of welcoming church programs
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel, Faith Work Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
"Our kindred in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) preach 'no creed but Christ' as their standard and measure for their work and witness. Today, I celebrate that they have taken a major step forward to fully embodying this vision. I give thanks for the faithfulness of GLAD and all those who've worked tirelessly and prayed without ceasing to see this day come to pass. Thanks be to God for the Church really being the Church!"
Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation:
"As Lutherans, we at ReconcilingWorks welcome the Christian Church Disciples of Christ to the growing number of faith communities and denominations choosing welcome for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and eliminating barriers for service from pew to pulpit, coffee hour to the altar. We congratulate GLAD on this major step in what has been a journey of graceful witness, education, and listening for the spirit over the last decade and more. We give thanks for the those LGBT and allied Disciples who stepped forward in courage. By policy, these now stand shoulder to shoulder as equals with all others in the church, even as they have stood as equals at the foot of the empty cross in the light of Christ."
Rev. Robin Lunn, Executive Director, Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists:
"In this season of change and the expansion of welcome, AWAB celebrates with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on their decision to become a fully inclusive body! We commend the GLAD Alliance for their work these past 36 years and the passion and grace of so many as they worked toward a time when the Kingdom of Heaven is more visible here on earth. May this Spirit blow into the Baptist world and move the hearts of our community to this glorious day soon."
James Rowe, Community Outreach Director, Believe Out Loud:
"Believe Out Loud offers our most joyous congratulations to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as the newest denomination to fully embrace and welcome our LGBT sisters and brothers. We are proud to call the GLAD Alliance our partners and friends. Their tireless work proclaiming Jesus' inclusive message of love is an example for us all. Peace and blessings to GLAD Alliance and all those who continue to spread God's welcoming love for everyone."
Patrick Evans, Interim Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians:
"The congregations, chapters, and membership of More Light Presbyterians celebrate with shouts of joy this justice-making, gospel-living action by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We give thanks for the work of so many of our Disciples siblings who have midwifed this moment for so many years, and we look forward to continued collaboration with GLAD and Executive Director Mark Johnston as we work, wait, and pray for a new heavens and a new earth where everyone is at home."
Andy Lang, Executive Director, UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns:
"The United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns, and our Open and Affirming movement of LGBT-welcoming churches, are grateful and proud that the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have taken a decisive step towards justice and inclusion. Our churches are close partners in mission and ministry -- this step brings us even closer. As I'm writing this, I'm at the UCC's Craigville Retreat Center on Cape Cod -- a place for worship and revival established 125 years ago by the Christian Churches in New England. These churches -- now a tradition within the UCC -- shared with the Stone-Campbell movement a vision of a church that transcended boundaries and welcomed all of God's children. The Disciples are living into that vision. We honor GLAD and the Disciples' growing Open and Affirming movement for the years of patient and loving leadership."
Meredith Bischoff, President, Welcoming Community Network:
"Welcoming Community Network (WCN) is singing out choruses of 'justice and joy' with our friends and colleagues in the GLAD Alliance and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as they have passed a resolution to became 'Open and Affirming' as a denomination! May the full inclusion of members and families of all sexual orientations and gender identities be a blessing to the ministry and outreach of your church."
Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive and Minister for Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, United Church of Christ:
"For many years, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has been a close partner in ministry with the United church of Christ. I join with friends and colleagues praising God for the actions of the General Assembly in adopting the resolution calling for grace, welcome, and inclusion across differences, including in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. I appreciate the recognition that extending such grace and welcome is an ongoing journey. It surely has been for the United Church of Christ. I celebrate this important milestone and the work of the GLAD Alliance, and I look forward to the opportunities this action offers for enhancing the wonderful partnership we all ready share."
Rev. Dr. Sally Harris, International Representative, Affirm United/S' Affirmer ensemble of the United Church of Canada:
"Affirm United/S' Affirmer ensemble join the many voices now singing the 'Hallelujah' chorus with friends and colleagues in the GLAD Alliance and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as they have passed a resolution to become 'Open and Affirming' as a denomination! Recognizing the patient work involved we give thanks to the Spirit who continues to led us into greater truths and to those who have dared to listen and respond. So it is!"
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country's premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all. The Task Force is a 501(c)(3) corporation incorporated in Washington, D.C. Contributions to the Task Force are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. © 2013, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C., 20005. Phone 202.393.5177. TTY 202.393.2284. theTaskForce@theTaskForce.org.
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