NG Kerk confirms two year gay union delay


ng_kerk_dutch_reformed_church_delays_decision_to_allow_gay_unionsIt’s been confirmed that the decision by the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) or NG Kerk to recognise same-sex relationships and non-celibate gay ministers has been put on hold.

The church was applauded for the historic vote by its General Synod last month, allowing individual congregations to apply the more progressive policy.

The decision was then appealed by one of the church leaders who voted for it at the synod but later changed his mind.

At the church’s moderamen meeting in Kempton Park this week, a decision was taken to delay implementation of the vote.

In a statement, the DRC said that the General Synod’s decision “cannot be carried out until the completion of the appeal procedure.”

It further explained that, “In terms of the church’s own rules, the appeal can only be dealt with at the next General Synod”, which is expected to be held in 2017.

This means that gay clergy must continue to remain celibate to be allowed to stay in the church and ministers may not bless or officiate same-sex unions.

It is believed that this is the first time in the DRC’s history that a decision by the General Synod has been appealed.

The statement went on to say that the DRC “is concerned about the effect of the deadlock on gay members and their families and friends” and “called on churches, presbyteries and synods to enter into conversation with these people with compassion and love and to include them in the warmth of our church home.”

Hennie Pienaar, one of the pro-gay church leaders, described the suspension of the decision, which he said had made the church “relevant in society again”, as “disappointing.”

He told Netwerk24 that it nevertheless “motivates us to work very hard on the ground over the next two years, so that members see our souls and hearts, so that their preconceived notions about why they want to exclude will fall.

“We realise it’s an injustice. It is only when you hear gay people’s stories, and see their hearts and souls, that you realise they are just human beings,” he added.

Despite the October vote recognising same-sex relationships and civil unions, the DRC has continued to maintain that marriage itself is only possible between a man and woman.

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