It is heartwarming, as well as heartening, to see the shift in public attitudes towards same gender marriage.
But in the fall of 2004, when this congregation was asked whether we would “allow” same-gender marriage, this was still relatively uncharted territory.
On August 11, 2004, the Diaconate issued the following statement:
Message from the Deacons
The Deacons of the First Congregational Church of Norwood have met to discuss the decision by the Supreme Judicial Court about civil marriage for same-gender couples and how it affects our church family . As an Open and Affirming church, our congregation has covenanted to “ welcome all individuals regardless of physical or mental ability, race, age, culture, family status, sexual orientation or gender identity into the full life and community of our church. ”
The Deacons stand by that commitment, and after study, prayer and careful consideration, we affirm that all couples wishing to marry in our church will follow the same thoughtful and prayerful process that has been the tradition of our church and the practice of our pastor; that is, for the pastor to meet with every couple and determine whether our faith perspective is appropriate to the couple’s understanding of marriage. We also affirm that the decision to perform a marriage ceremony for any couple has always been and remains the decision of the pastor.
We recognize that our congregation includes members who have different understandings, yet, we are by our love for Jesus and the love he inspired us to show others. Holding this belief in our minds and hearts, we feel we are called to be a community of faith which respects each person’s search.
We believe that this is an opportunity to grow as a loving and caring faith community.