Our Covenant Renewed: A Pastoral Affirmation
The Clergy of the Northern Illinois Conference Reconciling Leadership Team
In appreciation of the clergy covenant and communion that was celebrated on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, we give thanks for our colleagues and the sacred moments that were shared as people experienced the truths about themselves and ministries of our church with gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer persons and families, including those around the table. The strength of the supportive environment was experienced as new alliances were formed and vulnerable moments met with the utmost care. We were emboldened by the amount of support for ministry to all people, which was established by the team who worked to build this day. There were 200 clergy present who experienced the redemptive work of God. This was an incredible expression of the dedication of so many of our clergy committed to ministry with all of God’s beloved children. Previous statements about this time do not accurately reflect the grace experienced in that day.
We have been invited to reaffirm our covenant with Christ, with one another, and with the world. We choose Grace over law, and ministry to all the world over preservation of the status quo of the institution.
In response to this experience, these are the guidelines we follow:
- In Biblical Obedience, we have and we will continue to be honest about what we are willing to do;
- In Biblical Obedience, we have and we will continue to celebrate the Altar for All commitments of clergy and congregations and the use of our buildings and resources where our congregations are supportive of enjoying marriage equality;
- In Biblical Obedience, we have and we will continue to be committed to prepare loving couples for marriage and celebrate loving couples who are married;
- In Biblical Obedience, we have and we will continue to address the intersections of oppression, such as: speaking out for immigration reform and an end to deportations; speaking out for a fair wage; divesting from unfair trade; standing with displaced Palestinians and all native persons; engaging in national conversations on racism; and empowering other marginalized people or others who experience injustice;
- In Biblical Obedience, we have and we will continue to be in ministry with young people who have been kicked out of their homes or suffered other forms of violence because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or non-conformity and have been told or felt that they are not beloved by God.
- Seek permission to engage in ministry with all persons;
- Censor celebrating the joy of the communities we are called to serve;
- Exclude persons from use of our buildings or grounds.
Continuing to be faithful, gifted, and fruitful leaders,
Lois McCullen Parr
Gregory D. Gross
Luis F. Reyes
David W. Meredith
Rev. Dr. Barbara B. Javore
Ed Miner First Elmhurst
Wendy Ann Witt
Jerry M. Miller
Mary Ann Caruso
Rev. B.J. Birkhahn-Rommelfanger
Satia Marshall Orange
Rev. Ouk-Yean Kim Jueng
Rev. Dean L. Francis, Senior Pastor
MJ Grimshaw - Laity
Meaghan Stainback, Lay Leader, Holy Covenant UMC
Rev. Kristen Larsen
Dave & Cathy Coughlin
Carol Ann Brown
Rev. Gregory R. Dell, Retired Clergy
Will Ed Green
William Dixon, member, Wesley UMC Naperville
Jessie Cunningham, Lay Leader, St Andrew UMC, Homewood
Carol R. Findon
Adrien Chely, RFUMC member
We welcome others who share our commitments to join us by contacting Lois McCullen Parr at firstname.lastname@example.org.