We believe that all people are created with dignity and intrinsic value being made in the image of God. All are equally capable of experiencing God regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Therefore, we welcome LGBTQ+ persons to participate in the life of Commons Church: sharing in the sacraments, serving in ministry, joining in membership, and leading in community.
[Sept 2, 2018]
At Commons Church we are part of the historical Evangelical Covenant Church. We are also a congregational church that lives and breathes within the specific context of Calgary AB. As such, when it comes to the policies and practices of our community we engage both the larger community of our denomination and the specific community of our local expression. Sometimes these two conversation line up completely. Other times they differ. It is our conviction that as we hold together in unity and difference, affirming the reality of our freedom in Christ, we both strengthen the body and help to tell the story of love to our world. After all Jesus told us that, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV11)
With those two conversations in mind we have attempted to draw out our current posture on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church based on three observations.
1. We affirm that the biblical imagination of marriage points humbly toward a union between a man and a woman. Marriage is a complex relationship composed of many complimentary purposes. Procreation (Gen 1:22), companionship (Gen 2:8), and the model of Christ’s love (Eph 5:22). We see all of these present in the Biblical imagination of this one institution.
2. At the same time we recognize that each of us is shaped by genetics, culture and circumstance in ways that do not always conform to the cultural norm. Sometimes our diversity is an expression of the creative goodness of God. Other times, it is an effect of the presence of sin and brokenness in our world. Regardless, we are called to live out our faith and connection to the divine in the best expression of what we see in Jesus who is the fullness of God (Col 1:19). With that in mind, we believe we are called to celebrate expressions of love, companionship, intimacy and monogamy, even in those relationships that do not fully express all of the purposes we see in the institution of marriage.
3. Finally, we believe that the church is a body meant for the good of the world. It was designed to show the expanding, inclusiveness of God’s kingdom—from Abraham, to his family, to his tribe, to the nation of Israel, to the foreigner the fatherless and the widow, and finally to the inclusion of all peoples everywhere. In Christ, all dividing lines are broken down and we can truly affirm that, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 NIV11) This is an expansive imagination for a church that would continue to develop the narrative path that God laid out for us in scripture.
As we imagine these three guiding principles we have attempted to do our best in allowing the Spirit to guide us into how to affirm these ideas for today.
1. We welcome LGBTQ+ persons and couples as full members in our community, for baptism and for participation as they seek to express love within committed marriages.
2. Our clergy who choose to hold credentials with the Evangelical Covenant Church do not perform same sex marriages in line with the policies of the denomination and our desire to participate and influence the conversation that is happening in our larger church body. *[In fall 2017 Commons formally met with our denomination to request the freedom of pastoral conscience to fully journey with our LGBTQ+ friends, including officiating marriages for all members of Commons Church.]
3. We hold hospitality between congregation members, and toward all those who earnestly seek to serve and understand God, as the paramount expectation, knowing that grace is the only way a collection of humans can thrive together in community.
4. We believe that faithful people can and will come to different conclusions about the meaning of scripture. We believe that this church can include these different understandings within its life as it lives out its mission.
5. We expect to learn and to listen and to continue to be guided by the Spirit of God as we participate in the ongoing dialogue of faith and church.
6. We affirm the legal right of all LGBTQ+ persons to the same protections and privileges that society affords to others.
7. We have a non-discriminatory policy regarding the use of our facility for community events and weddings.
[originally published Jun 9, 2015]*
"Our ideal is to be a church in which Christ is honoured through a fellowship of liberty and unity of love. Within a framework of basic Christianity, doctrinal variations are not to divide the church. The right of every believer to his own position is to be respected."
Written on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Scandinavian Mission Church in Calgary founded 1911. This church would eventually merge into the founding of Commons Church in 2014.