Proclaiming the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) a People of Grace and Welcome


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What follows is a copy of the resolution that has been submitted for consideration at the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Orlando, July 13-17.  It is a resolution Proclaiming the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ a People of Grace and Welcome to all . . . regardless  of “race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, or physical ability.”

Since there has been much speculation about what such a resolution might look like, we thought it might be helpful to release the resolution that has already been submitted, with the understanding that because of the process such a resolution must go through, it is fairly certain that some revisions will be made to the content.   However, this is the text of the document submitted by the congregations listed below.

 

Additionally, here is a link to a Description of the Need for a Resolution, along with some FAQs.  

~ (Derek Penwell)

 

Proclaiming the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) a People of Welcome and Grace to All

WHEREAS, we, the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) understand ourselves to be a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world, called to welcome others even as we have been welcomed by God [1] and to practice hospitality to one another,[2]  as well as to strangers;[3]

WHEREAS, Holy Scripture affirms that all people have worth and are created in the image of God and share with all others in the worth that comes from being unique individuals,[4]  which has been reiterated at past General Assemblies (2001, 2005, 2011);

WHEREAS, we affirm that as Christians we are many members, but are one body in Christ–members of one another, and that we all have different gifts.[5]  With Jesus we affirm that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves,[6] and that we are called to the ministry of reconciliation and wholeness within the world and within the church itself;

WHEREAS, Disciples affirm baptism as the primary call to ministry, and offer baptism to all who profess their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior;

WHEREAS, Disciples profess that the nature of Christian discipleship is profoundly informed by a common table, which is central to the act of worship. This emphasis on communion calls attention to the radical nature of the hospitality extended by Jesus–an act that welcomes all to be received at the Lord’s table of grace. In centering our worship on the Lord’s table, Disciples cannot but remember that our very birth as a movement came at Cane Ridge in reaction to limitations being placed on this welcome, and later in Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address;

WHEREAS, Disciples emerged as a movement centered on a call to Christian unity as our “polar star,” who must recognize that cutting off anyone who seeks the hospitality of the Lord’s table is an act of disunity;

WHEREAS, Disciples have been engaged in a process of discernment on the question of the participation of all Christians regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the life and ministry of the church since 1997 with mixed results;

WHEREAS, we know there are people who are devalued and discriminated against within society, and more sadly within the church because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity;

WHEREAS it is also recognized that the people of God find our identity around the table, holding each other dear even when we disagree; and that the church from its beginning has understood that God’s Spirit leads congregations to differing interpretations of scripture, but that each are called to claim one another in unity, transcending our differences;

AND WHEREAS, it is understood that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) operates with a congregational polity whereby local congregations have final say in matters of conscience;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) declares itself to be a people of grace and welcome to all God’s children–inclusive of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, or physical ability;

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

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that all expressions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as a people of grace and welcome, are encouraged similarly to declare their support for the welcome of and hospitality to all Christians, regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, or physical ability.

[1] Mark 12:31 [Statement of Identity of the CC (DOC), Disciples.org]

[2] 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Peter 4:9

[3] Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2

[4] Genesis 1:26–7

[5] 2 Corinthians 5:18–20

[6] Matthew 7:12

 

Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Louisville, KY)

Midway Hills Christian Church (Dallas, TX)

Chalice Christian Church (Gilbert, AZ)

Fireside Christian Church (Denver, CO)

Little White Chapel (Burbank, CA)

First Christian Church (Eugene, OR)

Tapestry Ministries (Berkeley, CA)

St. Andrew Christian Church (Olathe, KS)

Lafayette Christian Church (Lafayette, CA)

First Christian Church (Concord, CA)

University Christian Church (San Diego, CA)

First Christian Church (Vallejo, CA)

New Covenant Community Church (Normal, IL)

First Christian Church (Lynchburg, VA)

Central Christian Church (Indianapolis, IN)

First Christian Church (Orange, CA)

Open Hearts Gathering (Gastonia, NC)

Bethany Christian Church (Tulsa, OK)

Pine Valley Christian Church (Wichita, KS)

Foothills Christian Church (Phoenix, AZ)

GLAD-Pacific Southwest Region (Irvine, CA)

GLAD Alliance

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About Derek Penwell

Derek Penwell is an author, editor, speaker, and activist. He is the senior minister of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Louisville, Kentucky and a former lecturer at the University of Louisville in Religious Studies and Humanities. He has a Ph.D. in humanities from the University of Louisville. He is the author of The Mainliner’s Survival Guide to the Post-Denominational World, from Chalice Press, about how mainline denominations can avoid despair in an emerging world. He currently edits a blog on emergence Christianity, dmergent.org, and blogs at his own site at derekpenwell.net.

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