Disciples affirm the desire to be a people of grace and welcome to all.

At the General Assembly in Orlando, Florida during July 2013 representatives and voting delegates from across the life of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) gathered to explore, discuss, discern and proclaim. Among those conversations and proclamations was Sense of the Assembly Resolution 1327. Equally important is the pastoral letter to the church from our General Minister and President, Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins (Pastoral Letter) (Other resources here).

This is obviously a deeply important conversation no matter where one stands on the issues, and no matter where one’s deepest sense of right may lie. I do not presume here to try to press an agenda, other than open conversation and communication. Unfortunately, at times one or another party hijacks the process in their zeal do defend their view of what is right and righteous.

For us as Disciples, it is of primary importance that no human opinion shall separate us from fellowship at Christ’s table. This means that around the matter of sexual orientation we are called to allow our hearts to be made tender by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit who unites us in love. We are no more passionate about this issue than were the Jews and Gentiles of the first century when Paul said, “There is now therefore no longer Jew nor Gentile, Male nor Female, Slave nor Free, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28)

What we cannot allow to happen is for one or another group to decide for everyone else who we are to be by narrowing the scope of the love that Jesus extends with outstretched nail pierced hands. Knowledge is power, not to wield against our enemies, but to transform all our hearts and minds until they conform with the mind of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ as his reign unfolds in, through and around us.

What transformation needs to happen within your heart so that you can break bread with those toward whom you hold strong negative feelings? Decide today to take a step of humility toward those persons, not to correct them but simply to love them.

GA-1327 (Sense-of-the-Assembly)

BECOMING A PEOPLE OF GRACE AND WELCOME TO ALL
Adopted by the General Assembly
WHEREAS, “We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world,” called to welcome others as we have been welcomed by God1 and to practice hospitality to one another,2 as well as to strangers;3 and
WHEREAS, Scripture affirms that all people are created in the image of God and share with all others in the worth that comes from being unique individuals;4 and
WHEREAS, Scripture affirms that as Christians we are many members, but are one body in Christ each with different gifts, called by Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves,5 and called to the ministry of reconciliation and wholeness within the world and within the church; and
WHEREAS, Disciples historically affirm baptism as the primary call to ministry and offer baptism to all who profess their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior; and
WHEREAS, Disciples historically profess that the nature of Christian discipleship is profoundly informed by the Lord’s table, which is central to the act of worship, calling attention to the radical hospitality extended by Jesus, who welcomes all to the table of grace; and
WHEREAS, the Disciples’ movement came to be in reaction to limitations being placed on this welcome, recognizing that excluding anyone from the Lord’s table fragments the body of Christ; and
WHEREAS, the 1997 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) called for the church to give continuing research and reflection “concerning the participation of gay and lesbian persons in the full life and ministry of the Church”;6 and
WHEREAS, persons continue to be devalued and discriminated against within society and more sadly, within the church because of their sexual orientation and or gender identity; and
WHEREAS, Disciples find identity at the Lord’s table, sharing as the body of Christ, valuing each other in covenantal relationship even we disagree; and
WHEREAS, Disciples historically affirm that individuals and congregations hold differing interpretations of scripture, but that all are called to transcend differences and claim one another in Christian unity;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly meeting in Orlando, Florida, July 13-17, 2013, calls upon the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to recognize itself as striving to become a people of grace and welcome to all God’s children though differing in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability, political stance or theological perspective; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that 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; and
FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly calls upon all expressions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as a people of grace and welcome, to acknowledge their support for the welcome of and hospitality to all.
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
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

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
6 Resolution No. 9719, A Call on the Participation of Gay and Lesbian Persons in the Life of the Church, accepted by the General Assembly meeting in Denver, Colorado, July 25-29, 1997.