While we might appreciate that our sisters and brothers in Christ have a right to voice their personally held beliefs and understanding regarding sex, sexuality, gender identity and marriage, we hereby offer this response to the Nashville Statement:
We DENOUNCE the Nashville Statement as being hurtful and harmful to many who have historically experienced misunderstanding and oppression.
WE AFFIRM the God-given dignity of every human being and want to assure those who identify as GLBTQ individuals that you are beloved children of God – without exceptions.
We AFFIRM that God intends for all humans to live together in loving, caring and mutual relationships.
WE AFFIRM that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and deny that sexuality should only be understood in binary terms of man and woman.
WE AFFIRM that God designed marriage to be a sacred and holy bond between human beings who have committed themselves to love, serve, and live a life faithfully with one another.
WE AFFIRM that there are those who are born as intersexed and that they are full and equal bearers of the image and likeness of God – worthy of full dignity and respect.
WE AFFIRM that God has created individuals whose gender identity may not fall into a binary spectrum and therefore assert that individuals have a God-given right to be allowed to embrace their own identity.
WE AFFIRM that LGBT+ Christians are called, along with their straight sisters and brothers to live holy and fulfilling lives that are congruent with God’s creative intent for them.
WE AFFIRM that one may live proudly and openly as an LGBT+ individual, and as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, must be included in the Church’s call to build up the body of Christ.
WE AFFIRM that non-inclusive teaching has caused significant psychological and spiritual harm to LGBT+ individuals in Christian churches around the world. We believe that these assertions are based on an ill-informed, misunderstanding of scripture and lacks a firm grasp on the complexity of human sexuality. Therefore, we seek the LGBT+ community’s forgiveness for the harm that has been done to them in the name of Christ.
WE AFFIRM that sexuality and gender identity may be expressed in a variety of different ways, including celibacy. We also affirm that commitment, consent, respect, and self-sacrificial love are hallmark traits for all Christian relationships.
WE AFFIRM that Jesus Christ has come into the world to bring salvation to all and therefore deny that Christ rejects anyone from his loving embrace because of their sexuality or gender identity.
The Parish Church of St. Jerome
Fr. Dewayne Messenger, Pastor