Pastoral Letter from West Michigan Clergy

Thanks to the West Michigan clergy who are participating in the “Gay Christian? Yes!” Campaign by signing the Pastoral Letter below!  As you can see, we are just beginning to get the word out about this opportunity.  We look forward to many more clergy adding their names.

If you are a clergy person in West Michigan and would like to add your name to this letter, please email Rev. Jim Lucas at JimLucas@GayChristianYes.org.  Include your phone number so that Rev. Lucas can call you to confirm your identity and your desire to add your name to the letter.

The letter below was written by West Michigan clergy supportive of the “Gay Christian? Yes!” Campaign, and it is adapted from an original Concerned Clergy open letter to the West Michigan community in 1996. 

We are grateful for the hard work and significant progress that churches in West Michigan made since 1996 in welcoming gay people.  We encourage continuing progress with the following call and theological underpinning.

A Pastoral Letter from Concerned Clergy
in West Michigan
2012

To Whom It May Concern:

We are a group of rectors, pastors and church leaders from several Christian denominations in West Michigan; and we’re deeply concerned about what has often been represented in the popular media over the last several years as a singular Christian response towards gay and lesbian people.

The intolerance and exclusivity of this response grieves us, because it is a misinterpretation of the Gospel’s call for the church to embody the teachings of Christ; and this misinterpretation wounds those within and outside of the body of Christ on a regular basis.  As Christians we are called not to wound but to heal.

We are therefore compelled to express our convictions:

We find through careful biblical study and exegesis that the New Testament portrays Jesus as one who continually challenged the religious community’s understanding of who was “in” and who was “out;” Jesus often expanded Israel’s notion about those for whom he came; and he invited into the religious community those who had previously and mistakenly been labeled as “impure,” “unworthy,” or “unclean.”

Jesus was silent on the issue of homosexuality, and we know through careful biblical study that the few references in scripture to same-gender sexual relationships cannot be applied to the loving, committed, same-gender relationships we know today. Jesus’call, however, to follow his demonstrated ethic of inclusive love is clear; and as the ethic which governs the Christian action we strive to embody, this is Good News.

Therefore, to be faithful to this Good News:

We call the church to listen to those who have been long-silenced or excluded from full and open participation in the life of the church. We believe it is to our mutual peril that the church rejects the humanity and the gifts of anyone, based solely or even partly on the basis of their sexuality.

We call the church to accountability, because in ways that are now understood to have been rooted in prejudice and fear, it has often judged and excluded people and their viewpoints.

We call the Church to nurture a faith that is secure enough to accommodate differences in human expressions of love; to encourage all people to engage in sexual activity only in committed, loving, monogamous relationships. We believe that the acceptance of same-gender relationships cannot threaten the integrity of different-gender relationships; and that in order to maintain any committed relationship, all of us must continually seek God’s Spirit and the support of our faith communities.

We are confident that this faithful, biblically based perspective carries an implicit integrity and is shared by significant numbers of thoughtful, scripturally grounded Christians in many denominations.

We invite all those who share this understanding to join us in forming strong and diverse congregations which are increasingly welcoming, open, and inclusive. May the healing and loving Spirit of God in Christ be honored and trusted more than are all forms of fear and prejudice.

Speaking to our churches, though not necessarily for our churches, we are:

The Rev. Valerie T. Ambrose
The Rev. David A. Brower
Fr. Brian Coleman
The Very Rev. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
Rev. Andy DeBraber
The Rev. Rachael N. Evans
The Rev. Michael C. Fedewa
The Rev. Charles Homeyer
Rev. Dale Hotelling
Rev. Jim Lucas
Rev. Greg Martin
Fr. Joseph Neiman
The Rev. Nurya Parish
Rev. Jennifer Rund-Scott
Rev. Jill R. Russell
Rev. Lorie Shier
Rev. Susan Sparta
Rev. Doug Van Doren
Rev. Steve Welker
The Rev. Mike Wernick
Rev. Gordon Wiersma

Faith & Sexuality Series: Engaging our Sacred Texts

Join us for a Faith & Sexuality Series during our GRITS adult meetings on Wednesday evenings during the month of February. This series will be lead by Gregory Eran Gronbacher, a gay Jewish man with a passion for theological study and discourse.

We will be encouraged to engage the Scriptures in new ways and glean from the perspectives of one another. This series is sponsored by the Gay Christian? Yes! campaign and GIFT. It is free and open to the public!

Dates: 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, and 2/26
Time: 7-9pm
Location: 207 E. Fulton, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(Turn North onto Barclay, turn into the top parking lot and head down to the bottom parking lot. The door is closest to the sidewalk on Fulton.)

Identify. Tell me why. GCY!

Need to create your video? All it takes is a webcam and five minutes of your time.

Identify.
Using YouTube (or another preferred video hosting site), you record a web or phone cam video of yourself. Just tell us who you are. LGBT+? Ally?

Tell me why.
Explain why the “Gay Christian? Yes!” message resonates with you. What is your story? How do you find yourself reconciling your spiritual walk, your involvement in a church community, and the various other aspects of your humanity? Allies too! What message of hope can you offer your Christian LGBT friends and neighbors?

GCY!
Affirm that you are among those who unconditionally recognize the sacred worth of each person and fully welcome all into the life and community of the church by saying “Gay Christian? Yes!” and/or by making a whimsical sign with the GCY name and website to hold up at the end of your video

Submit a link to your video at Facebook.com/GayChristianYes
or via email:
MediaTeam@GayChristianYes.org

More helpful hints can be found by clicking on "Videos" above, and then on "How to Upload and Share your video"

Make your video today, and join the many voices proclaiming:
"Gay Christian? YES!"

Contribute

Donate to the Campaign

The “Gay Christian? Yes!” Campaign needs your financial support. Gays In Faith Together (GIFT) runs the Campaign. GIFT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. US donations are eligible for tax deduction. Send your check to

GIFT
207 East Fulton
Grand Rapid, MI 49503

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Note that your donation is for the GCY Campaign.

Upcoming Events

Click on event for details.
  • October 22, 2014 7:00 pmGRITS
  • October 29, 2014 7:00 pmGRITS
  • November 5, 2014 7:00 pmGRITS
  • November 12, 2014 7:00 pmGRITS
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