Touché April 29, 2016
Posted on April 29, 2016 by under Touché,


Jerusalem Council

A prayer of Reconciliation:

Lord Christ, help us to see what it is that joins us together, not what separates us. For when we see only what makes us different, we too often become aware of what is wrong with others. We see only their faults and weaknesses, interpreting their actions as flowing from malice or hatred rather than fear. Even when confronted with evil, Lord, you forgave and sacrificed yourself rather than sought revenge. Teach us to do the same by the power of your Spirit.”

(William Breault, SJ)

We opened our final meeting on the “Hot Button” Topic of Homosexuality with this prayer. Then Jen Bendelius, our classis representative to the Jerusalem Council, invited us into grace- filled conversation with these principles:

  • I will empathetically listen seeking to connect rather than to get my own way. I will try to listen to the other person as if I were “walking in their shoes.”
  • I will listen with curiosity, knowing that what the other person is sharing is something deeply important to them.
  • I believe we are each are brothers and sisters in Christ. Each of us are image bearers of God and therefore I honor and respect my brothers and sisters.
  • I am called to represent Christ in all my interactions.
  • I acknowledge some of our differences in attempting to interpret Gods word faithfully.
  • I humbly realize that because none of us is right all the time, no one can speak unequivocally on God’s behalf.
  • I commit to making our time together safe and confidential where I and others can share without repercussions.
  • I am aware that how we live and interact together as followers of Christ speaks volumes in our witness to the world.
  • I will conduct myself individually and collectively in such a manner that reflects the light of God.

It was a beautiful evening of tough, but grace-filled conversations.  I came into the conversation skeptical that the Jerusalem Council had brought us to any better place.  Their first conclusion- that authority and responsibility on ordination of ministers of Word and sacrament rests with the classis, and authority and responsibility on marriage rests with the consistory and classis. This is what is going to our annual meeting.  It will cause friction, in part because it is currently what is, but if we can continue to deal with each other in grace-filled ways, there is hope.  You can find the full report at

Jen wrote in her thank you note: “In my opinion you and your church are working through this process in a healthy way. I witnessed authenticity grace and struggle…all good stuff as we work towards growth.”

The conversations will continue and I pray that they are grace-filled and we see what it is that joins us together, not what separates us.

In Christ,