By Steve Authier
Recently I voluntarily submitted my pastor credentials because I affirm same-sex marriage. I have spent years studying this matter on my own and in community. I have prayed about it privately and with others who were also seeking God’s guidance. I made this decision as part of my desire to lead my life based on biblical principles and the living Jesus Christ I follow. I won’t go into the reasons why I affirm same-sex marriage in this post. I go into greater detail in two other posts I’ve written: Changing the Lens and Where do We Turn?
I sensed the call to ministry since my teenage years, so when, after thirty years, I became a credentialed Anabaptist pastor in 2008 it was a great day for me. I loved being a pastor. I feel confident in my calling. When I was ordained in 2012 it was a day of joy and celebration I’ll always treasure.
As much as I loved being a pastor, and wish I could officially remain one, especially given that my son recently became engaged and I looked forward to officiating at his wedding, the time came for me to submit my credentials because my position conflicts with my denomination’s interpretation. This was an extremely difficult decision, one I would’ve preferred not having to make. However, for reasons of integrity, my own and my denomination’s credentialing process, it was the right decision. I was thrilled when my denomination extended me an invitation to continue my fellowship with them by continuing to attend our pastor development days.
I respect my denomination’s approach to its interpretation on same-sex marriage and the way they respond with love and respect towards the LGBT community. I wish all churches who believe same-sex marriage is not biblical held that position in the same loving and caring way it’s striving to.
I pray that one day my denomination will enter into a time of discernment about their understanding of same-sex marriage and that I can once again be a credentialed Anabaptist pastor. In the meantime, I will continue to be an active participant in my church’s life. I love my denomination’s commitment to Jesus and their desire to extend his message of love and peace around the world.
I recognize that same sex-marriage is a sensitive and polarizing issue. I wish to extend grace to all those that are still processing it and to those who land at a different place on this than I do. I pray that all of us who follow Jesus can extend grace to all as we move forward living out Jesus’ message of love and peace.