Sexuality and Marriage

Vineyard Canada, Nov 11, 2020, 2:57 AM
Vineyard Canada Global Moderator

Do Vineyard Canada pastors officiate same sex marriage ceremonies?

No, we do not allow Vineyard pastors to marry same sex couples.

Are queer people released to pastor in Vineyard churches?

Individuals with same-sex attraction who are gifted for pastoral leadership are blessed to do so, as long as they are living celibate lives or have chosen a heterosexual marriage. Further, such a person's orientation should not disqualify them from any participation in the life of their local church community, including pastoral ministry.

What is your perspective toward those with a different theology regarding minority sexuality?

One of our longstanding catch phrases in the Vineyard is "love the whole church." The Church has always had a wide array of liturgical expressions, doctrinal stances and practice. Vineyard Canada does not feel the need to "police" the Church, or society, in any way. We hold a posture of open handedness, realizing that we do not have all the answers nor are we in a competition to be "the best" expression of Christianity out there.  We recognize that there are expressions of our faith who embrace same sex marriage and would call themselves "fully affirming" or "fully inclusive." That is their discernment and the descriptors they have chosen.  It is simply not our theological perspective nor practice. We want to be faithful to what we have discerned Jesus is asking us to be and do. We only have one small part in a very grand story that God Himself in unfolding. There is room for disagreement and a way of love in which we can, and should, honour each other.

Did any churches leave Vineyard Canada because of your position on sexuality and marriage?

Yes, a few churches have disassociated from the Vineyard because they have a different perspective theologically with regard to sexuality. St. Croix Vineyard, Vineyard Montreal, The Mosaic Network, and North Calgary Vineyard are the churches who have left Vineyard Canada.

Below is our joint statement with Vineyard Montreal from 2021:

"Over the past year, Vineyard Canada and Vineyard Montréal have been discussing whether they can remain in affiliation after arriving at two different landing points on LGBTQ2+ inclusion and belonging. Vineyard Montréal sought to remain affiliated with Vineyard Canada whilst becoming a fully affirming church community that performs marriages for same-sex couples and provides full leadership opportunities for people who identify as a part of the queer community. During a series of conversations that took place over a span of several months between members of both parties, it became more evident that while Vineyard Montréal desired to remain part of Vineyard Canada, Vineyard Canada did not feel that this would be tenable. Seeking clarity as to whether or not Vineyard Canada agreed that continued affiliation was possible, Vineyard Montréal asked Vineyard Canada via the Foundations Team if they wanted Vineyard Montréal to leave the Vineyard. The Foundations Team responded, saying the wisest way to proceed is that Vineyard Montréal step out of its official affiliation with Vineyard Canada. Vineyard Montréal will respect this request and will be leaving Vineyard Canada. We both humbly acknowledge each other as remaining in the body of Christ and ask God for only blessings for the other."

What are your ongoing efforts to understand and not perpetuate further harm to the queer community?

There is extensive history both in society and in the Christian Church, of which Vineyard Canada is a part, where the queer community has been mistreated, at times to the extreme. We believe queer people must be treated with dignity and respect. There is no room for bigotry or acts of hatred and violence towards queer people. We acknowledge serious harms have been done, and people have been wounded, including by words spoken at Vineyard events in the past. We are committed to growing in our awareness and understanding in order to not further perpetuate damage to queer people.

How are you continuing to learn about issues of gender and sexuality?

We hold a deep persuasion in Vineyard Canada to be lifelong learners. Although we have reached a landing place regarding our theology of human sexuality and implications for our Vineyard Churches, we never want to stop conversation and learning. There is so much we all do not know, right across the spectrum of faith, science and culture. We are committed to remaining courteous and non-accusatory as we continue to grow and learn.

Questions pertaining to gender are distinct from sexuality. As such, part of our learning goals for our National Team in 2021 are to further explore gender and implications for discipleship and leadership in Vineyard churches throughout Canada.