Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Church and society should endorse same-sex marriage (Voices of Faith)

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Voices of Faith
From Lancaster Online:
I write as a 97-year-old retired Mennonite Christian pastor. ....

My wife and I believe the church must rise up and reclaim a godly and wholesome sexuality. A sexuality:

— That includes public vows of faithful love and is blessed within the church (not left to fend for itself outside the church).
— That calls everyone to commit our bodies and to respect the bodies of others (whether homosexual or heterosexual) as temples of the Holy Spirit.
— That is committed to a lifelong monogamous relationship.

We believe gay people should have the opportunity to create a Christian household within the blessing of a lifelong committed relationship. We want them to belong to a church and live a life with faith.

Last year, when the laws of Pennsylvania changed, I was happy to be invited to marry my son and his partner in a small private ceremony in their backyard. What a joy-filled day! I feel that my act of love in officiating this marriage was in line with those in the early church who learned to welcome outsiders into the family of God.

My prayer is that our church leaders will warmly invite into congregational fellowship and the joys of marriage those believers and nonbelievers who have suffered exclusion from our church. And I pray that the laws of our country will assign societal benefits of marriage to them as well.

Let us pray the Spirit of Christ will teach us all how to love and welcome the outcasts, as Jesus did.

Chester L. Wenger was a long-time Mennonite Church pastor and leader, who served as a missionary in Ethiopia for 17 years. The Lancaster Mennonite Conference terminated his credentials in 2014, after he officiated at the wedding of his gay son.

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