"Where was the dialogue?"
That was one of the main questions asked about our church's resolution, "After Dialogue, A Declaration About Marriage," by delegates at the annual meeting of UCC Kansas-Oklahoma Conference, which concluded this past weekend.
Our church made some efforts.
I attended the daylong marriage dialogue training sponsored by the Conference in January. Facilitator Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer did an excellent job showing the 12 who attended how to create and maintain a safe discussion environment.
Our church sent a letter to all 80 churches in the conference, inviting them to receive a free package of marriage resources. The material featured 3 books and a DVD interview with Dr. Robert Gagnon of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. 5 churches responded to our offer.
Could our church have done more? Sure.
I was disappointed that our church declined an offer for a dialogue exchange with an ONA church in Oklahoma. While it might not have changed anyone's convictions about the definition of marriage, it would have put a human face on the discussion and lowered the rhetoric on both sides.
But as one lady said Saturday when the resolution was being debated, if 80% of the 2005 annual meeting delegates voted for a dialogue, it was incumbent on them to carry it out. It wasn't just Little River's responsibility.
What else could have been done? Some suggestions next time.