Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Marriage Resolution Before KS-OK Delegates

This weekend is the United Church of Christ Kansas-Oklahoma Conference's annual meeting in Manhattan, Kansas.

Our church has a resolution on marriage before the delegates. It is submitted, in part, as a response to General Synod 25's declaration supporting same-gender marriage.

The resolution is below:

“After Dialogue, A Declaration About Marriage”

In July, 2005, General Synod 25 passed the resolution, “In Support of Equal Marriage Rights for All” and defeated the resolution, “Marriage Is Between One Man and One Woman.” Through this dual action, General Synod 25 advocates to its conferences, associations, and churches a redefinition of marriage.

At the October, 2005 annual meeting of the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference, the Little River Congregational Church proposed the resolution, “A Breach of Tolerance, Truth, and Unity,” which urged delegates to declare their dissent. Delegates replaced the resolution with a new one. It called the Conference to “a year of respectful dialogue on marriage and issues of human sexuality,” asked the Commission on Educational Ministries to develop appropriate resources for congregational study and action, and encouraged congregations to engage other congregations holding different points of view, in the spirit of Christ’s prayer, “That they all may be one.”

Highlights of action that took place this past year include the following: 1) A discussion facilitators’ training day took place in January, led by Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer (Executive and Minister for GLBT and HIV/AIDS Ministries). 2) The Conference Council at its December meeting decided that conversations would be best arranged by each Association. 3) Little River Congregational and Tulsa Community of Hope jointly offered dialogue and material resources to all interested churches in the Conference. 4) Associations, churches, and individuals engaged in formal and informal conversation.

With the year’s dialogue concluded, this resolution respectfully calls on delegates to disclose their convictions about the nature of marriage, doing so by declaring their dissent with the dual actions of General Synod 25.

Theological-Biblical Perspective

Marriage is a covenant that unites one man to one woman—a pattern rooted in God’s loving actions at creation (Genesis 1-2). This exclusive viewpoint is assumed, endorsed, and exposited throughout Scripture (Leviticus 18; Proverbs 5:15-23; Song of Solomon; Matthew 19:1-6; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; 1 Corinthians 7; Hebrews 13:4). Texts that disparage homosexual and heterosexual behaviors remain relevant today because their witness is rooted in God’s created order.

The church is called to practice the distinctive ministry of Jesus—who offered an extravagant welcome to those on the margins of society, while at the same time upholding God’s demands for righteous conduct. Jesus did not regard sexual ethics as having diminished importance in relation to other demands like the Great Commandment to love God and neighbor. God is still speaking about marriage. God’s message remains the same.
We offer this resolution in the spirit of love to all our brothers and sisters, made in the image of God, who struggle with sexual purity. Available by faith to all sexual sinners is the great hope of grace, forgiveness, and cleansing—made real by Jesus Christ through his life, death, and resurrection. Everyone needs the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of the church to live a pure and whole life. May every church be an embracing and supportive place of refuge and encouragement, while upholding the dignity and sanctity of marriage.

The Resolution
WHEREAS General Synod 25 proposes a redefinition of marriage.

WHEREAS the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference completed a year of respectful dialogue on marriage and issues of human sexuality.

WHEREAS God’s Word defines marriage as a covenant that unites one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24)—a view assumed, endorsed, and exposited throughout Scripture.

WHEREAS Jesus offered extravagant welcome to all and at the same time upheld God’s demands for righteous conduct—never diminishing sexual ethics in light of the Great Commandment.

WHEREAS every local church is called to model Jesus’ ministry—embracing all sexual sinners, nurturing them in community toward holiness and wholeness, while upholding the dignity and sanctity of marriage.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference declares that God is still speaking about marriage—God’s definition is the same today as it was in the beginning—one man and woman joined in covenant—and that all other marital unions are out of order with God’s created intent.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference calls upon United Church of Christ delegates at General Synod 26—via a resolution—to reaffirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

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