Please note: This post is from 2015. Subsequent action by the Indiana Legislature prompted the General Board to choose Indianapolis for the 2017 General Assembly.
Contact: Cherilyn Williams, assistant vice president of marketing and communication
April 1, 2015, 1 p.m. EDT
Governing body of Christian Church votes unanimously to seek new venue for 2017 meeting
The General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), comprised of leaders from across the United States and Canada, voted unanimously on Tuesday night, March 31, to seek a new venue for the 2017 General Assembly previously scheduled for Indianapolis. The vote is in response to the new Indiana law, SEA 101, commonly known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The board’s action stated that SEA101, in combination with Indiana’s lack of civil rights protection for some citizens, creates an environment in which attendees of the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) could be denied services based on a business owner’s religious beliefs.
“As a Christian church, we affirm and support religious freedom. It is, in fact, a core principle for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We are also strongly committed to an inclusive community – just as Jesus welcomed all to the Table,” said General Minister and President Sharon Watkins. ”As a result, our church is very diverse: including both conservative/traditional and liberal/progressive persons. All are welcome. We want them to be welcome at our assemblies as well.” Frequently asked questions
Indianapolis has been home to ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for at least eight decades. Leaders are watching news of legislation purportedly circulating in the State House today.
“We continue to be hopeful that concerns for freedom as well as for freedom from discrimination will be addressed in our state. We love our city and want to bring our assembly back here soon,” said Watkins. Full statement to the Church following General Board meeting
- On March 25, leaders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) sent a letter, signed by Disciple Home Missions President Ron Degges, Division of Overseas Ministries Julia Brown Karimu, and General Minister and President Sharon Watkins, to Governor Mike Pence that the Disciples would consider changing the venue of the 2017 General Assembly away from Indianapolis.
- On March 26, Governor Pence signed SEA 101 into law.
- In a series of conference calls March 28 through 31, elected leaders of the denomination met by conference call to discuss options.
- On March 31, the General Board unanimously voted to seek another venue since the law had not yet been repealed or remediated.