Approved by the 205th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ, June 14, 2004.
WHEREAS, Paul taught that “love is patient and kind”1 and Jesus summarized the whole and holy scriptures with the commandment to love God and our neighbors as ourselves”2, and
WHEREAS, our United Church of Christ Statement of Faith clearly affirms that it is God, as Holy Spirit, who “binds in covenant faithful people” and promises “courage in the struggle for justice and peace”3; and
WHEREAS, we in the United Church of Christ believe that “the essence of marriage is a covenanted commitment that has its foundation in the faithfulness of God’s love”4; and
WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has recently affirmed that “marriage is a vital social institution” and that “the exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support” and “brings stability to our society”5; and
WHEREAS, we are members of our local congregations through our “covenanted relationship with Christ and the members of the church”6;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 205th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ calls upon local churches and associations:
• To value and respect without prejudice or discrimination marriages and families,
• To provide opportunities for the study and discussion of the biblical and societal foundations of marriage and the understanding and experience of marriage in our faith tradition
• To listen to each other as we share our deeply held convictions about the importance of marriage,
• To study Jesus’ teachings,
• To pray for God’s guidance, and, above all,
• To bear witness to our covenant, respectfully aware of our differences as well as our agreements, and always renewing our commitment to journey together as a community of Christian faith.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the 205th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ requests that the Board of Directors direct the appropriate commission(s) to collect and/or develop a broad range of resources on marriage (such as bible study and discussion guides, video, book, and internet resource lists, legal information, etc.) and make them available to both congregations and clergy by the fall of 2004.
Funding for this action will be made in accordance with the overall mandates of the Massachusetts Conference and the funds available.
1 1 Corinthians 13:4
2 Luke 10:27
3 United Church of Christ Statement of Faith
4 UCC Book of Worship, “Order for Marriage,” p. 323
5 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, November 18, 2003
6 New Century Hymnal, “Order for the Reception of Members,” p. 44