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

What follows is the latest 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 Calling the People of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ to be a People of Grace and Welcome to all . . . regardless  of "race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, or physical or mental ability."  This iteration of the resolution has undergone a number of revisions.

Since there continues to be 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 for consideration by the General Board, 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)

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 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.  We are members of one another, each with different gifts.[5] We affirm that each of us is called by Jesus 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, who welcomes all to be received at the Lord’s table of grace. In centering our worship on the Lord’s table, Disciples  recall that our very birth as a movement came at Cane Ridge in reaction to limitations being placed on this welcome;

WHEREAS, Disciples emerged as a movement centered on a call to Christian unity as our “polar star.”  We 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 we 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 transcend our difference and to claim one another in unity;

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 General Assembly calls upon the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)  to recognize itself  as 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 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 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 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 Christians, regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or cognitive 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