As Christians, our faith influences every aspect of our lives, and the ways that we are and interact with one another as sexual people is no exception. Here at North Park Covenant Church, we are in the midst of a season of paying close attention to what faithfulness and flourishing do and can look like within our community of faith. Admittedly, this is a complicated conversation, but it’s so important. It requires deep study of the Bible, a keen awareness of culture—both ancient and current—a trusting and engaged community, and individuals of good will committed to grow with one another.
In addition to the general conversation about how we all live faithfully as God’s people, there has been a particular emphasis on how to extend welcome, grace, and community to LGBTQ people both within and without our church family. Our church has been deeply troubled by the polarizing way our culture and our churches have attempted to influence one another, and we are looking to enter this vital and complex conversation with open ears and hearts as we together discern what it looks to be submitted to God’s Word and committed to human flourishing for everyone.Looking Back as We Move Forward
Our conversation here at NPCC is one that has an interesting history. The story of of the Human Sexuality Task Force, the members' viewpoints, and our process to this point all inform where we are currently.
The narrative of that process can be found here.Resources for Our Conversation
As we have talked and learned together, we have drawn on a multitude of resources from the Evangelical Covenant Church, Christian and secular scholars, people open to full inclusion, people who hold to more traditional boundaries for sexual behaviors, and our own church survey and small group discernment.
All of those resources can be found here.Moving the Conversation Forward
This fall, our congregation met on November 12, 2017 to vote on a resolution presented by 25 church members who are imagining what a Gospel-shaped movement toward LGBTQ people can look like in our particular church (The original resolution can be read here). The result of that vote was a motion to refer the resolution to committee who is charged with rewriting the petition and returning it for vote by June 30, 2018.
The Unanimously Approved Motion from November 12
"I, on behalf of several of those who signed the original petition in February 2016 that led to this meeting, move that the resolution proposed by that group be referred to a committee appointed by the church chairperson, Bill Werner, and comprised of seven church members who hold differing views on the original petition and represent varying demographics of the congregation. The committee will be charged with rewriting the resolution on matters of gender identity and sexual orientation as they relate to our church members, friends, and surrounding community. The committee will prepare a final recommendation for the congregation’s consideration by no later than June 30, 2018.
- The chairperson will advise the new committee to follow the guidelines below:
- The new committee will work in a manner that is inclusive of the members and viewpoints of the congregation.
- The new committee will make all reasonable efforts to develop a resolution that is easy to understand in agreement with the North Park Covenant Church Constitution, Bylaws, and NPCC procedures in effect as of January 1, 2017.
- Resolution proposed to the congregation shall contain the following elements:
- A stated purpose and reasons for resolution.
- Statement of scriptural support.
- Proposed procedures, guidelines, and effective dates.
- FAQs, references, and resources."