MARRIAGE EQUALITY WORSHIP, EDUCATION, AND SOCIAL WITNESS PROPOSAL
Background In July 2010 the Open and Affirming (LGBT) Work Group recommended to the Executive Council that CCC engage in a church-wide discussion of marriage equality for same-gender couples and proposed a schedule of worship, education, and social witness activities to nurture that discussion, leading up to a congregational vote on a resolution affirming CCC’s commitment to marriage equality. In taking this path, CCC would follow in the steps of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC), which issued a marriage equality statement in 2005.
At its July 12, 2010 meeting, the Executive Council strongly endorsed the Work Group’s proposal. At its November 1, 2010 meeting, the Executive Council approved the language for a “final” Draft Resolution affirming marriage equally to be circulated to the congregation and scheduled a congregational vote on the resolution for January 30, 2011.
Fall 2010 Activities
The following activities aimed at facilitating a discussion on the marriage equality issue have occurred throughout the fall:
On September 19, the Work Group staffed a table at Taste of Ministries to highlight the Draft Resolution on Marriage Equality (Draft Resolution) and Marriage Equality Worship, Education, and Social Witness Proposal (Marriage Equality Proposal).
On September 20, the Work Group sought input on the Draft Resolution and Marriage Equality Proposal at the group meeting that precedes regular monthly Board meetings and met with the Board of Deacons, Board of Social Witness, and Board of Outreach and Education.
On September 26, the Sunday Worship Services focused on the meaning of marriage. The Work Group prepared a “Meaning of Marriage” booklet reflecting the life stories of CCC members and a pamphlet discussing “Myths about Marriage Equality”. The Work Group also hosted an educational forum which included State Senator Richard Madaleno, the lead sponsor of marriage equality legislation in the Maryland General Assembly, and Jill McCrory, a Baptist minister and leader in Equality Maryland’s Faith in Action initiative.
A small group, led by Richard Thayer, Amy Lewis, Cyndy Wright-Johnson, and Matthew Nelson have participated in a Listening Project aimed at making sure that everyone at CCC has a safe place to express their views and get information about the Marriage Equality proposal.
On October 31, the Work Group provided a brief update on the plan to hold a congregational vote on the Draft Resolution, reminded members of the ongoing Listening Project, encouraged members to read the Meaning of Marriage booklet and Myths about Marriage Equality pamphlet, and invited members to discuss this issue with each other.
On November 1, the Work Group met with Executive Council and obtained approval of the language for a “final” Draft Resolution to be circulated to the congregation.
Throughout the fall the Work Group has provided opportunities for members to send messages to State legislators to support marriage equality in the next legislative session which begins in January 2010.
On November 14, a mission moment relating to Marriage Equality was included in the 10:30 Worship Service.
The following activities relating to marriage equality are scheduled to occur before the congregational vote on January 30, 2011:
On December 4, the Work Group will meet with the Board of Christian Education.
On December 12, a Mission Moment relating to Marriage Equality will be included in the 10:30 Worship Service and a copy of the Draft Resolution will be inserted in the Sunday Bulletin.
On December 12, the Work Group will meet with parents of young children.
On January 9, Ann Thompson Cook will give a sermon relating to marriage equality at the 10:30 Worship Service, a copy of the Draft Resolution will be inserted in the Sunday Bulletin, and a Q&A on the resolution will follow the 10:30 Worship Service.
On January 23, the Work Group will meet with Youth Group.
On January 30, a congregational meeting will follow the 10:30 Worship Service and the Draft Resolution will come before the congregation for consideration and adoption.
CCC’s Open and Affirming (LGBT) Work Group continues to explore ways to live out CCC’s covenant to intentionally welcome and affirm gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals to journey in faith with the congregation and to “recognize the diversity of families among us and the ways in which God calls us into relationship.” The Work Group meets regularly on the 4th Sunday of the month following the 10:30 Worship Service. These meetings are open to all! Please join us! For more information about the Work Group, please contact Kathleen Boucher or Matthew Nelson.