Disciples News Service

Message from Sharon re: 2017 Assembly

April 13, 2015

Dear Disciples,

The General Board has determined that the 2017 General Assembly should take place in Indianapolis “as a continued witness for wholeness”.

Two weeks ago, the board authorized a move away from Indianapolis due to a new Indiana law called The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SEA101 or RFRA). This law raised concern that some of our members and friends might not be welcome in Indiana businesses.

Following a groundswell of opposition to the bill – including our own action to move our assembly – the concerns raised by the General Board have been addressed. SEA101 has now been amended so that it cannot be used to open a new door to discrimination. There is a newly invigorated statewide understanding that Indiana needs improved laws and ordinances protecting all people from discrimination. Disciples will be part of that movement – a clear voice of faith.

The events around the Indiana RFRA have left some feeling bewildered and even hurt. The first stand was a bold move against discrimination in the guise of religious freedom. There is concern that the second decision undermines that bold stand. Locating our assembly in Indianapolis, now that our concerns have been addressed, positions us more strongly as a moral voice in the movement for equal protection under the law for all.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will continue to advocate for wholeness and dignity for all people. We are a church of an open table where all are welcome in Christ’s name.

Indianapolis is now a more welcoming place for all our assembly-goers than it was when we originally decided on Indianapolis for our 2017 site.

My prayer is that through our presence and action, our church and our communities will be stronger representatives of God’s love for all people. May the power of the risen Christ be in us all for life and love in Jesus’ name.

 watkins signature


General Minister and President

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