On behalf of the entire leadership team, I am reaching out on the heels of what was an unprecedented denominational decision at the Evangelical Covenant Church Denomination meeting at the end of June. At that meeting, a recommendation for the removal of First Covenant Church Minneapolis was brought by the Denomination Executive Board to the Annual Meeting Delegates. The specific vote was as to whether or not FCCM was out of harmony with the discerned position of the Evangelical Covenant Church on Human Sexuality and pastoral credentialing, particularly surrounding the issue of Same-Sex Marriage. 75% of the delegates present voted to remove FCCM. This was the first time in the history of the Covenant that a church has been involuntarily removed (Press Release).
There have been (and continue to be) many responses and thoughts about what happened. For as many of us as are reading this note, we all receive it in different ways and with much pain involved for many people, for many reasons. This is further complicated by the reality that the pervasiveness of Sin distorts our lives together; such that it is incredibly difficult for contentious issues to be discussed in the church without anger and mutual recrimination – especially a topic like human sexuality. This was the type of decision that is having emotional impacts throughout the denomination. Our church family is no exception.
It is the hope of the leadership team to create safe spaces for us all to come together as the Body of Christ and listen, learn, and grow together.
With this as the backdrop, I would like to extend an invitation for you participate in what the Leadership team is referring to as a “Deepening Church Connection” experience, on Tuesday August 13th, at Excelsior Covenant Church. God intended us to be the Body of Christ, doing life in community together. Left alone, we cannot live together as God intended, so here is what we hope our community will experience at the Deepening Church Connection:
· People come to listen and understand what is being shared more than advocating for what they are sharing
· People can share honestly and feel heard by staff, leadership and fellow members of the Body of Christ
· A space to cultivate a spirit of compassion, understanding and empathy towards all
· A space that communicates that we are trying to walk together in unity, even when we aren’t all aligned in thought
When we’ve created opportunities like this for sharing, something beautiful always happens, which should come as no surprise: “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20
It is the Leadership Team’s sincere hope that you will join us, and if you are brave enough to share how you are feeling and what you believe, I also hope that you will feel loved and appreciated for doing so. Let’s prayerfully lean in, together.
In love & grace,
Matt Richardson (ECC Chair)
Deepening Church Connection
Tuesday August 13th at 7:00 pm
Excelsior Covenant Church