A Big Question and a Great Opportunity

As many of you know, Hope Church has enthusiastically become a Room For All congregation; that is, it is open and affirming to all.  If the US Supreme Court affirms the right of marriage to all, (anticipated this June), clergy and congregations throughout the country will be faced with their own decision about blessing and officiating at religious marriage ceremonies for those of the same gender.

The Elders of Hope Church need your input!  To that end, a taskforce has been at work to design a time for these important discussions.  On four prime spring nights, Wednesday April22 and 29 and then on Wednesdays May 13 and 20, from 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. you are invited to gather in our Commons for this process of discernment. Each time will include dessert, a time for centering worship and a chance to share your thoughts and convictions.  Top notch facilitators from Holland and the national Room for All group will help us see the context, broader legal and historical aspects of marriage, our Reformed Church current stance and the context within our own Classis of Holland.  We will ask you, “What do you want the Hope Church Elders to know about how you are, right now, pertaining to a decision for Hope Church concerning same-gender marriage?”

The complexity is real and the chance for growth is great.  Please plan to come to join the discussion!  You may not be able to attend all four sessions, but we hope you can.  There will be a short, but very helpful list of resources, (on the web and in paper) in our church library, to help us prepare. We need YOUR voice to be heard! Please plan to attend!

Part 1: Opening the Conversation — Wednesday, April 22

  • Marriages in the Bible — Tom Ludwig — Professor of Psychology
  • A theological look at marriage
  • Discussion on our views of marriage and holy relationships

Part 2: Marriages, Yesterday and Today — Wednesday, April 29

  • Legal and Historical Aspects of Marriage. Jim Piers Professor of Sociology
  • Panel of folks within same gender marriages. Moderator Cindi Veldheer

Part 3: The RCA nationally and locally — Wednesday May 13

  • Presentation on the current situation of positions and actions within the RCA nationally, regionally and locally. Marilyn Paarlberg Executive Director, Room for All

Part 4: Where We Stand — Wednesday May 20

  • Elders will express, “Here is where I am coming from, and where I am now on this important issue.”
  • Small group discussions using the questions “What does your head say? What does your heart say? What does your gut feel? What do you want the Elders to know about what you are thinking and feeling right now pertaining to this decision about same gender marriages at Hope Church?