James L. Doty Jr.
Last month, the Community of Christ’s USA National Conference made the recommendation to make "the sacrament of marriage" available to same-sex couples, as well as ordination to the church's priesthood.
The conference was held April 19-21 in the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, Mo. About 2,000 people attended, including 1,500 delegates, according to Kendra Friend of the church’s communications and media relations team.
The church’s statement said that the USA National Conference had more than the required 67 percent majority approve the following policy changes:
The 2013 USA National Conference recommends the sacrament of marriage be extended, where legal in the USA, to persons of the same sex/gender. Thus the 2013 USA National Conference recommends a change to the current policy for the USA on the sacrament of marriage.
The 2013 USA National Conference recommends that a church-recognized way for two persons of the same sex/gender to publicly express their covenant to each other be made available in places in the USA where marriage is not legal. Thus, the 2013 USA National Conference recommends a change to the current policy for the USA regarding same-sex/gender covenant commitment services where marriage is not legal.
The 2013 USA National Conference recommends allowing a priesthood call to be processed according to established procedures regardless of sexual orientation, including a person in a monogamous, committed, same-sex/gender relationship (e.g., legal marriage, civil partnership, covenant relationship) in the USA. Thus, the 2013 USA National Conference recommends a change to the current policy on ordination for the USA.
The policies must be approved by the church’s First Presidency and Council of Twelve to be implemented. It is expected that changes will take up to a year to implement.
Some Community of Christ members see these policy changes as coming at an important time in the church’s history.
“I look forward to being a part of Community of Christ, both for this experience and for the journey ahead,” said Sharon Hannah, a member of the Community of Christ, in a video on the church’s website. “It’s an exciting time for us.”
The Community of Christ church was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
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