Western Pennsylvania District adopts “Resolution on Biblical Marriage”


Western Pennsylvania District Conference logo: Examine yourselves

Western Pennsylvania District Conference logo 2018

Western Pennsylvania became the latest district to pass a policy on same-sex weddings and related issues as delegates gave overwhelming support to a measure while meeting Oct. 20 at Camp Harmony (Hooversville, Pa.).

The “Resolution on Biblical Marriage,” modeled on similar statements adopted in recent years in Shenandoah District and elsewhere, reaffirms the 1983 Annual Conference statement on homosexuality and affirms that “marriage is a God-ordained covenant that can only be entered into by one man and one woman.” It says district ministers may only officiate at such marriages and that district properties or congregations may only be used for such marriages. It also says the district “will consider for its slate of office only persons who uphold the teachings of the Bible on human sexuality and the Western Pennsylvania District’s affirmations on human sexuality.”

An amendment struck a paragraph that had said the district “recognizes that conversations about LGBTQ concerns may well continue within the Western Pennsylvania District and that such conversations will not be deemed to violate any district policies.”

A similar policy to the one adopted in Western Pennsylvania was rejected by Atlantic Northeast delegates last month, while one was adopted in Northern Ohio this past summer.

The Western Pennsylvania District conference, led by moderator Peter Kaltenbaugh, also consecrated licensed ministers, called Cheryl Marszalek as moderator-designate and elected others to various offices, approved a budget of $162,597, and filled the district van with hygiene kits, school kits, and clean-up buckets for Church World Service.

In other district conference news:

  • Southern Ohio/Kentucky District met at Salem Church of the Brethren Oct. 19-20 with the theme “We Are One Body” and Deb Oskin serving as moderator. Delegates approved an update to the code of regulations for Brethren Retirement Community (Greenville, Ohio) and a new affiliation agreement with the district. District executive Dave Shetler provided an update on a framework for a congregational withdrawal process that was adopted by the district board in September. It notes that the goal of the process is “ for reconciliation rather than the withdrawal of a congregation.” Sandy Jenkins was called as moderator-elect.
  • Shenandoah District is meeting this weekend at Antioch Church of the Brethren (Woodstock, Va.). Insight sessions there will present a report by the District Discernment Team on a Congregational Withdrawal Process. Delegates will also act on proposed changes to the district constitution.
  • Other districts meeting this weekend include Atlantic Southeast, in North Fort Myers, Fla., and Illinois/Wisconsin, in Cerro Gordo, Ill.; wrapping up the district conference season with meetings next weekend are Pacific Southwest, meeting Nov. 9-11 in La Verne, Calif., and Virlina, which meets Nov. 9-10 in Roanoke, Va.

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