A Message from ECO’s Synod Executive about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding same sex marriage
Dear ECO Friends,
Within minutes of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same sex marriage, our e-mails and phones have been flooded with questions from our ECO congregations. While each question is uniquely worded, the questions can be summed up under two headings. First, and less frequently, is the question “What does ECO believe about same sex marriage?” Second, and more frequently asked, is, “What are the implications for our churches?”
Before I answer both questions, let me start by saying that in ECO we generally try to stay out of politics. However, there are times when political decisions affect, or potentially affect, the way in which ECO operates. For example, there might be times when religious liberty is challenged. In order to protect the integrity of our ministry, ECO may need to proactively or reactively engage in a political conversation. The Supreme Court’s decision on marriage has potential challenges, which is why we are responding to it.
The first question regarding ECO’s stance on sexuality has a very simple response. In ECO, we affirm that marriage is a gift from God between one man and one woman. We affirm that sexuality is also a gift, which is to be expressed within this covenant of marriage. Scripture, our Essential Tenets, and confessions all speak with one unified voice on the subject of marriage.
The second question, regarding the implications for ECO churches, is more complicated. We are not yet sure about the ramifications of the Supreme Court decision. However, we have been in conversation during the last year about potential outcomes and necessary responses. We are grateful to be a part of a group of denominations that maintain the orthodox Christian faith and with whom we can process such questions. John Terech, ECO’s Director of Operations, is taking the lead on coordinating with other denominations and networks. As information becomes available, it will be disseminated through your presbyteries.
Let me take the opportunity to address a third question that could be out there. How do we respond now? I think the answer to this question is easy. Preach and live the gospel! Whenever church finds itself at odds with culture, we have the opportunity to thrive in new ways as we live out the gospel in a conflicted context. Let us be people who live the model of Jesus by being welcoming and transforming for all people, in all aspects of our lives. Each of us has places in our lives that need to come under the Lordship of Jesus and the transforming power of the Spirit. Can we be people that welcome and love one another wherever we are, and yet love one another enough to work for mutual transformation? I think we can, and I think that as we do, the gospel will flourish! Let’s pray together to that end.
Bless you all in your continued ministry,
Dana Allin, Synod Executive