Marriage and Discernment

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Grace to you and peace.

On July 14, 2016, on behalf of the RMPC Session, we mailed to our congregation an important letter inviting everyone to be part of a time of discernment about the place of marriage in our congregation. The initial letter and other resources for our process of prayer, listening and study will be posted to this page as they are available. Above all, we are committed to and we trust that God will strengthen our congregation as we pray, listen, and study together. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to speak with one of us.

In Christ's service,
Matt Rich, Pastor
George Hall, Clerk of Session

Follow up October 26th, 2016

Dear Friends,

Grace to you and peace.
For the last several months the Session of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church has invited you to join them in a time of discernment about the place of marriage in general and same gender marriage in particular at RMPC. We are writing today to let you know that the time of discernment has come to a close.
This time of prayer, education, and listening for God’s word and call to us has been an extraordinary time in the life of our congregation. Many in the congregation participated in the process and we are grateful for the many prayers, letters, and conversations which have been shared over the past months. We truly believe that a new unity of spirit has been fostered by God through this time together. Our congregation has demonstrated growth and spiritual maturity in openly talking about and prayerfully considering an issue that can be greatly divisive.
To bring the time of discernment to a close, at its stated meeting on Sunday, October 23, 2016, the Session approved the following motions. One of the great principles of the Presbyterian Church is that each elder votes his/her conscience as it is informed by God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit. These motions express what we believe God is leading us to believe and do as we continue to discern God’s call and to be led by the Spirit.

With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we as the Session of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church:
Motion #1: Reaffirm the current wedding policy as written; and
Motion #2: Recognize and affirm that while our Pastors are bound by the current RMPC wedding policy for weddings performed at our church, they retain liberty of conscience with respect to all requests to officiate at marriage services in accordance with the Book of Order at locations other than RMPC. We trust that our pastors will prayerfully consider the spiritual readiness of every couple to enter the covenant of marriage and exercise their discretion to perform wedding services “with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and their understanding of the Word of God.” (Book of Order W.4-9006); and
Motion #3: Affirm that despite the restriction of marriage to male/female couples, our church shall in the spirit of Christian charity welcome persons of same-sex orientation to be/become members and full participants in our worship, sacraments, fellowship, ministries and receipt of pastoral care.
Throughout this process of discernment, we have rejoiced and affirmed that Jesus Christ alone is head of the Church and God alone is Lord of the conscience. The faith we share in Jesus Christ is greater than any individual opinion or decision. Our congregation has grown in the Spirit throughout this process in part as we recognized a diversity of opinion about what marriage means, what the Bible teaches concerning it and who may enter into a marriage. In the absence of consensus as guided by the Spirit, the Session is led not to make a major change to previously settled church policy concerning marriage. However, there is general agreement that it is our duty to show pastoral love to, and be welcoming of, homosexual members — a consensus present even among those who object to same-sex marriage.

The members of the Session are committed to being spiritual leaders and will continue to be attuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit about the issues which we are called to address. It has been a great gift to the Session to hear the hopes, prayers, and thoughts which are present on your hearts and minds. We invite you to continue sharing with us both your joys and concerns as we seek to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit together. Elders and one of the pastors will continue to be available in the chapel following worship on Sunday mornings. The weekly prayer meeting will continue at 12:45 PM in the library each Wednesday. You may call, e-mail, or visit with us any time.

Thank you again for your prayers and participation in this process. We trust that the Lord will continue to strengthen us and lead us in all the days to come.

God bless,
Matthew A. Rich - Pastor

George Hall - Pastor Clerk of Session

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