In June 2021, the General Assembly instructed church courts, agencies, colleges and camps to ensure that their policies, procedures and practices reflect the full inclusion of all people. Previous General Assemblies have acknowledged that the denomination as a whole is called to address the barriers and harm that LGBTQI2+ people encounter in the denomination.

Church courts, agencies, colleges and camps are to review their policies, procedures and practices, including the language used to identify and revise aspects that fail to reflect the full inclusion of all people, and to complete this work by June 2022. To assist with this, the Life and Mission Agency has produced a new resource that outlines the types of documents and practices that should be reviewed, the focus of the review, appropriate diction, aspects of pastoral care and community life that should be considered, and links for more information and support.

Image of arrow pointing downGuidance to Help Amend Policy, Procedure and Practice to Reflect the Church’s Decisions about Gender and Sexuality – Updated May 2022

While the process and questions in these guidelines focus on the welcome and inclusion of LGBTQI2+ people, similar principles could be applied to assessing how welcoming and inclusive a ministry is of other marginalized communities.

Working to acknowledge, address, and transform the barriers and harm that LGBTQI2+ people face in the church is spiritual work. It calls us to cultivate receptivity to God’s Holy Spirit, to listen, to develop openness and flexibility, to act with diligence and intention, and to grow in compassion. The scope of this work is broad and goes beyond only amending the church’s policies and procedures. The way we understand and practice what it is to be a community of faith also needs examination and revision. May God guide and care for us on this journey.

For more information, please email Carragh Erhardt, Program Coordinator, Sexuality, or call 1-800-619-7301 ext. 278.