Evangelical Denomination Cuts Ties with Historic Church over LGBTQ Issue

Evangelical Denomination Cuts Ties with Historic Church over LGBTQ Issue

The Evangelical Covenant Church denomination has cut ties with a historic Minneapolis congregation because of its refusal to abide by the ECC’s faith statement regarding homosexuality and the ECC’s discipline of the pastor over that issue.

At the ECC’s annual meeting June 27-29 in Omaha, Nebraska, more than three-quarters of the denomination’s representatives voted to remove First Covenant Church from its fellowship over its policy of accepting LGBTQ members and clergy, and its willingness to perform gay weddings.

First Covenant’s pastor, the Reverend Dan Collison, was suspended by ECC’s board of ministry last year as a form of “care and discipline,” but the suspension was ignored by the church, and Collison continued his pastoral duties.

Collison told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune prior to the annual meeting that the church simply wanted “the freedom to disagree.” But ECC President John Weinrich, in a letter to denomination members, wrote: “I believe the future is now at risk. There is now a movement seeking to subvert the historic trust we have placed in the discernment of the annual meetings.”

The ECC has some 875 congregations and around 300,000 members. Its faith statement is theologically conservative, including a belief in the “absolute inspiration” and inerrancy of Scripture.

On marriage, the ECC statement reads: “We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female and that those two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God.  We believe that God created marriage to be exclusively the union of one man and one woman and that intimate sexual activity is to occur exclusively within that union.”

The Minneapolis church drew attention in 2014 after its music minister conducted a homosexual wedding off-site. According to a Religion News Service report, a large majority of the congregation supports LGBTQ membership, and it is not alone. A sister ECC congregation in nearby St. Paul, Awaken West Seventh, holds similar views, according to its website. The pastor of that church says he has no plans to change his views or how the church ministers.

The ECC’s only seminary, North Park Theological Seminary, has had its own controversies regarding homosexuality and Scripture. A school chaplain last year was suspended by the denomination for conducting a gay wedding, and North Park’s president emeritus, John Phelan, a member of First Covenant, was quoted as complaining about “balkanization” within the ranks but didn’t address the homosexuality issue.


Above: Valerie Taylor, secretary of the ECC executive board, prays for ECC President John Heinrich during the annual meeting.

Photo: ECC (@Cov_Church) via Twitter

Subscribe to Decision Email Devotional

Subscribe to Decision Email Devotional

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

About Us     Contact Us     Privacy
©2024 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. BGEA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.