GracePoint Church in Nashville has become the one the first Evangelical megachurches to take a stand in support of same-sex marriage.
The church, located in the contemporary Christian music hub of the United States, has been engaged in a conversation about marriage equality since 2012 when attendee Carrie Underwood announced her support for same-sex marriage.
Pastor Stan Mitchell has now announced that they church has come to a decision regarding homosexuality: Homosexual individuals will be permitted to marry, dedicate their children, and serve in the church.
Mitchell said, “Our position that these siblings of ours, other than heterosexual, our position that these our siblings cannot have the full privileges of membership, but only partial membership, has changed. Full privileges are extended now to you with the same expectations of faithfulness, sobriety, holiness, wholeness, fidelity, godliness, skill, and willingness. That is expected of all. Full membership means being able to serve in leadership and give all of your gifts and to receive all the sacraments; not only communion and baptism, but child dedication and marriage.”
TIME reports that some of the congregation stood up and applauded at Mitchell’s announcement while others remained silent.
The pastor continued, “I implore you, whether you ever worship here again, or whether you come back next week happier than you’ve ever been, when all else fails, and love never fails, you are mine and I am yours, and inclusion means that we can live together in agreement and disagreement. But if this stretches you to the point of having to compromise your soul, and you do need to separate, I would be a hypocrite to say I do not understand that, because conversely, my soul has been stretched to the point that if I do not say what I say today, I cannot be here any longer.”
Mitchell said the decision to welcome the LGBT community had not been unanimous, but the conversation had been sufficient.
Publication date: January 30, 2015