I want to highlight one of the resolutions which was passed at General Assembly in Louisville, KY 2023. “GA-2352 Invitation to Oppose Anti-Legislation and Affirm the Dignity for Transgender and Gender-Diverse People.”
Here is an excerpt from Dan Adolpson’s speech that was shared on the floor of the Assembly before the resolution passed unanimously.
“This resolution re-centers the humanity of our transgender and non-binary siblings. As we both know, terrible, hateful things have been said in the media about our trans & non-binary siblings. As the resolution states, we reaffirm the historic commitment of this movement to recognize and affirm the sacred dignity of all peoples as all are made in the sacred image of God and deserving of respect and honor. That is who we are as Disciples. As a point of personal privilege, it was around a communion table in a Disciples church in 2004 where God and the people called me back from the edge after hearing for so many years that I was ‘less than’ and ‘not worthy”, and that I didn’t need to be praying for God to fix something that wasn’t broken in the first place.
The resolution reminds the wider church that: The 2013 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada called upon the Christian Church “to recognize itself as striving to become a people of grace and welcome to all God’s children though differing in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability, political stance or theological perspective” and “to affirm the faith, baptism and spiritual gifts of all Christians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that neither is grounds for exclusion from fellowship or service within the church, but we celebrate that all are part of God’s good creation.
The 2019 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada called upon all expressions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada to grow in the embodiment of God’s generous welcome for transgender and gender-diverse people and their families through education, shifts in institutional language and practice, and the cultivation of trusting relationships with transgender and gender-diverse people and their families.”
I thank God for the wrestling and the struggle of what this resolution means for us as a collective body. For me, it is important that our LGBT+ siblings are all treated with dignity and respect. God loves all of us. I believe that all people have a right to healthcare, education, and the freedom to live life as they choose. We have to be aware when laws are passed that target and discriminate against certain groups of people.
I also believe that people have a right to respectfully disagree, but not to the point that we leave the table. You see church, we Disciples, are people of the table. Our General Minister and President, Rev. Terri Hord Owens, reminded us on the evening of her re-election, as Disciples, “When we hurt, we stay at the table. When we are angry, we stay at the table, when we have questions, we stay at the table.” It’s hard work in the Disciples of Christ structure to stay at the table. However, it is at the table where we “celebrate the savings acts and presence of Christ in our midst.” We say this is who we are.
Historically, the Great River Regional Board reviews all resolutions that pass at General Assemblies and bring those resolutions for discussion and approval to our Regional Assembly. Our next Regional Assembly is November 1-3, 2024 at First Christian Church Baton Rouge, LA. So we have some time to study and discern this resolution and the other resolutions. We have not even mentioned the resolution that passed on Christian Nationalism!
We are living in moments when our children and youth don’t know how their lives are supposed to fit in with the realities they see and face. They are alone, abused and have no one to trust. There are many specialized needs which drain families to the point that they are at the end of their rope. As the church, we are called to help them to belong, to bring relief and comfort, to fit, not as the world suggest it should fit, because the world does not have the inside knowledge and skills that the church is supposed to have to plant seeds of possibility for transforming a life.
Click here for a list of all Resolutions which passed during GA 2023.