Recent Concerns Related to the Homosexual Issue — May/June 2012

Recent measures by Church of the Brethren leadership seek to drastically reinterpret or disregard the 2011 Annual Conference decision on homosexuality. One subgroup that promotes homosexual acceptance has been granted display space at Annual Conference in St. Louis, and has also been approved as a site for a BVS worker to serve. One accountable/reportable agency, On Earth Peace, has issued a statement that encourages full acceptance, including licensing and ordination, of practicing homosexuals.

Several districts—among them Southern Pennsylvania and West Marva—have already recorded their opposition to these events, and call on those responsible to rescind the actions. The Southern Pennsylvania District Board understands these actions as breaking “of trust with the Body and has done and is doing great harm within the Church of the Brethren …. This unilateral acting in direct opposition to the decisions of the Annual Conference Body has and continues to cause brokenness between individuals, and the denomination as a Body..”

BRF concurs with the West Marva District Board, which said, “We firmly believe when delegates voted on the amended recommendation, they understood this to mean there would be no more conversations at Annual Conference; but instead, conversations might take place between individuals, in the churches, or districts. We also feel delegates clearly voiced their opinion that practicing homosexuality was not an acceptable lifestyle by reaffirming the entire 1983 Statement on Human Sexuality from a Christian Perspective.”

Standing Committee is the highest judicial body of the Church of the Brethren, and as such interprets and applies Annual Conference decisions to specific cases. Each District has at least one Standing Committee member that is elected by its District Conference. The Standing Committee should act to authoriatively interpret the 2011 Conference action (and the 1983 Statement on Human Sexuality) in the spirit of that Conference. BRF encourages individuals, congregations and districts to write letters to the Church of the Brethren leadership, and contact your District’s Standing. Committee members to register your concern about these actions.