Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Welcoming Church, Welcoming Synod, Welcoming Vows

In 2013, the Florida-Bahamas Synod became a Reconciling in Christ Synod.  Just last week, Florida became the latest state where same-gender marriage is legal.  Yet those of us who follow ELCA politics know that we do not have a definitive policy on same-gender issues.  As a church, we respect the "conscience-bound beliefs" of us all.  Thus we have agreed to disagree.  It's a policy that I hated at first, but have come to respect.

Now churches all across my state will be discussing what to do when a same-sex couple wants to have a wedding in the church.  Or will we?

I imagine that many have already made up their minds.  Many have already put into practice what the official policy will be, even before it will be official.  I know that Florida is very diverse, so I would be surprised if we didn't have a wide spectrum of official policies.

I know that many churches will stay silent on this issue--why upset the mostly older congregation when the question isn't likely to come up?

Here's what I yearn to see:  same-sex couples treated the same as mixed-gender couples.  My church does a reaffirmation of wedding vows, which is like a miniature wedding, right there in the middle of the worship service.

When a same-sex couple stands before us all to reaffirm their wedding vows, I will see that as a sign that we have accomplished our mission of being a welcoming church.  It's one thing to have same-sex couples in our midst, to have them feel welcome enough on their first visit that they come back.  It's another to truly celebrate their commitment.


Anonymous said...

Please, please remove Lutheran from your blog.

John Flanagan said...

Having "conscience bound beliefs" and being a "welcoming church" does not mean a reflection of God's word is being advocated. And as ELCA is truly neither Christian, nor Lutheran, but a theologically heretical and a
apostate false body, it would follow that that relevance to society drives this organization, not the word of God as contained in the Bible,