Mandate

This study committee will give guidance and clarification on how members, clergy, and churches can apply the biblical teachings reflected in the Acts of Synod 1973 Report 42 (cf. also the report to Synod 2002) in light of the legality of same-sex marriage in certain jurisdictions, as well as how to communicate these teachings in a truthful and gracious way within North America.

  • Address questions on same-sex marriage, including but not limited to those in Overtures 12 and 13.
  • Identify and guide the churches, members, and clergy regarding the ramifications of the legal, ethical, and spiritual issues that they face
  • Identify resources and best practices that will facilitate ministry and directly communicate them to the churches
  • Follow the shepherding model used by the synodical Faith Formation Committee (Minutes of Synod 2013, Article 69)

Subsequent to the following action, a delegate presented the following motion from the floor, which synod adopted and adds to the mandate of the committee:

That Synod request the Committee to Provide Pastoral Guidance re. Same-sex Marriage to consult extensively with pastors in Canada and the United States, members of different ethnic minorities, and others who have a broad range of experience and expertise (i.e., biblical, pastoral, ethnic) to both inform and provide feedback regarding the work of the committee.

Grounds:

  • The approved list of committee members does not include pastors active in congregations.
  • The approved list of committee members does not have an adequate racial diversity to represent the stated goals of synod and the CRCNA.
  • This will promote engagement within the churches of the denomination in the spirit of the shepherding model.

(Minutes of Synod 2013, Article 93)

Grounds for the mandate:

  • The reports from 1973 and 2002 have served the denomination very well by laying out the biblical principles and foundations clearly, where read and applied. Nevertheless, they could not take into consideration later political, legal, and social developments. Such developments include legalized same-sex marriage and the significant shifting of public opinion, which also makes an impact on the membership of the denomination.
  • In light of these developments, it is prudent for the denomination to expand the applications of the teachings and conclusions of 1973 and 2002 in order to give guidance and clarification on how members, clergy, and churches can speak prophetically in a loving fashion within North America.