GA-1929

GA-1929

AN INVITATION TO EDUCATION FOR WELCOMING AND RECEIVING THE GIFTS OF TRANSGENDER AND GENDER-DIVERSE PEOPLE
(Sense-of-the-Assembly)

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WHEREAS, a hallmark of the identity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is that we “welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us” [1], a commitment that has called us repeatedly to new understandings and practices of welcome; and

WHEREAS, many of our congregations are becoming aware of gender diversity among our neighbors, our membership, and our members’ families; but lack experience in congregational best practices for creating safe, just, and welcoming spaces for transgender and gender-diverse people and their families; and

WHEREAS, many of our clergy have not had the opportunity to participate in intentional, biblical-theological reflection on transgender and gender-diverse identities, nor have received training in pastoral care for transgender and gender-diverse people and their families, such that transgender and gender-diverse people in their care can receive the full benefit of holistic church membership, and such that the gifts that transgender and gender-diverse people bring into the church can be fully appreciated and employed; and

WHEREAS, transgender and gender-diverse people, including children and adolescents as well as adults, experience the dangers of bullying, abuse, assault, murder, and self-harm at rates many times those of cisgender [2] people [3];

WHEREAS, our federal government as well as many of our state, municipal, and school district governments have increased their efforts to devalue, punish, and erase transgender and gender-diverse identities in the recent past [4]; and

WHEREAS, the body of science regarding the biological and psychological understanding of gender is growing [5] and is persuasive that gender identity and gender expression are far more complex and rich than we previously understood and appreciated [6]; and

WHEREAS, scripture opens possibilities for new understandings that become recognizable in the evolving life of the church, such as:

• God’s own gender-full Self is revealed to us in Scripture as a kind Father [7] , a fierce Mother [8] , and a wide variety of other metaphors across the range of gender identities and expressions; and

• God is further known to us as the male-bodied Jesus [9] embodying God’s feminine Wisdom [10] ; and as the non-gendered Spirit [11] that inhabits human beings irrespective of gender [12] ; and

• Baptism into Christ clothes all people in Christ uniformly, negating ethnic, economic, and gender distinctions among believers such that “there is no longer Jew or Greek, no longer slave or free, no longer male and female” such that we are all “one in Christ Jesus” [13] ; and

• Transgender and gender-diverse people contribute rich understanding of God’s transformative power for followers of Christ, all of whom are understood to have undergone transformation of our core identity [14] , a concept that is enriched by relationships with transgender and gender-diverse people who have experienced transformation in their core identity;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, July 20-24, invites every expression of the church, in collaboration with Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance, to seek, share, and produce resources for biblical-theological study, pastoral care best practices, and best practices for institutional inclusion concerning transgender and gender-diverse people and their families; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly encourages the clergy of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to prepare their minds and hearts to offer fulsome welcome to transgender and gender-diverse persons in their congregations and among their neighbors, by means of engagement with materials produced in accordance with this resolution; and

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly calls upon all expressions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to grow in the embodiment of God’s generous welcome for transgender and gender-diverse people and their families through education, shifts in institutional language and practice, and the cultivation of trusting relationships with transgender and gender-diverse people and their families.

Galileo Christian Church, Fort Worth, TX
Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance, Indianapolis, IN
SouthPark Christian Church, Charlotte, NC
Park Avenue Christian Church, New York, NY
Missiongathering Christian Church, San Diego, CA
Missiongathering Christian Church, Charlotte, NC
Missiongathering Christian Church, Issaquah, WA
Missiongathering Christian Church, Thornton, CO
Milagro Christian Church, Pueblo, CO
Brentwood Christian Church, Springfield, MO
Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX
Shawnee Community Christian Church, Shawnee, KS
First Christian Church, Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe Faith Network for Immigrant Justice, Santa Fe, NM
United Christian Church, Levittown, PA
Pine Valley Christian Church, Wichita, KS
Carthage Christian Church, Cincinnati, OH
Community Christian Church, Manchester, MO
Open Table Christian Church, Murfreesboro, TN
Compton Heights Christian Church, St. Louis, MO
Forest Hill Christian Church, San Francisco, CA
Saguaro Christian Church, Tucson, AZ
Riverside Avenue Christian Church, Jacksonville, FL
Douglass Boulevard Christian Church, Louisville, KY
First Christian Church, Olympia, WA
East Side Christian Church, Tulsa, OK
Glendale Mission and Ministry Center, Glendale, AZ
United Christian Church, Levittown, PA
Lake Washington Christian Church, Kirkland, WA
Welcome Table Christian Church, Arlington, TX
Disciples Public Presence
New Song Christian Church, Kansas City, MO
First Christian Church (DOC), Vallejo, CA
Foothills Christian Church, Glendale, AZ
Edmond Trinity Christian Church, Edmond, OK
First Christian Church, Fullerton, CA
First Christian Church, Lansing, MI
Disciples Peace Fellowship
Bixby Knolls Christian Church, Long Beach, CA
Church of the Foothills, Christian Church and United Church of Christ, Santa Anna, CA
Heights Christian Church, Shaker Heights, OH
Little White Chapel Christian Church, Burbank, C
First Christian Church, St. Joseph, MO
First Christian Church, Bellingham, WA
Downtown Disciples, Des Moines, IA
Just Love, Houston, TX
Rock Bridge Christian Church, Columbia, MO
Sugarbush Christian Church, Guelph, ON, Canada
Chalice Christian Church, Gilbert, AZ
National Avenue Christian Church, Springfield, MO
St. Andrew Christian Church, Olathe, KS
First Christian Church, Katy, TX
First Christian Church, Lynchburg, VA
Board of First Christian Church, Minneapolis, MN
Union Avenue Christian Church, St. Louis, MO
First Christian Church, Las Cruces, NM
All Pilgrims Christian Church, Seattle, WA
Midway Hills Christian Church, Dallas, TX
Central Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN
First Christian Church, Portland, OR
First Christian Church, Eugene, OR

__________________________________________________________________
The General Board recommends that the General Assembly ADOPT GA-1929. (Discussion Time: 24 minutes)

[1] Disciples identity statement.

[2] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cisgender

[3] https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/Harsh%20Realities.pdf, https://transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/usts/USTS-Executive-Summary-Dec17.pdf

[4] https://transequality.org/action-center, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2018/02/12/education-department-will-no-longer-investigate-transgender-bathroom-complaints/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathroom_bill, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender_rights_in_the_United_States

[5] https://www.wpath.org/media/cms/Documents/Web%20Transfer/Policies/WPATH-Position-on-Medical-Necessity-12-21-2016.pdf

[6] https://www.hrc.org/resources/understanding-the-transgender-community

[7] Psalm 68:5; Psalm 103:13; Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 31:9; Matthew 5:45; Matthew 6:9; Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 8:6

[8] Deuteronomy 32:11-12, 18; Job 38:28-30; Psalm 131:2; Isaiah 49:15-16; Isaiah 42:14; Isaiah 66:13; Hosea 13:8

[9] Luke 2:7

[10] Proverbs 8:1-3, 22-31

[11] In Hebrew ruach is a feminine noun, grammatically speaking; while pneuma in Koine Greek is neuter.

[12] Joel 2:28-29; Luke 1:41, 67; Acts 2:17-18; Acts 4:31; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-7

[13] Galatians 3:27-28

[14] Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 2:20