Mission Friends for Inclusion

About Us

Mission Friends for Inclusion is first and foremost a gathering of people deeply committed to the health, vitality, and ongoing renewal of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Our aim of representing the rich diversity of the Body of Christ is rooted in our historical ethos as companions of all who fear the Lord. Because the Covenant is united in Christ rather than common doctrine, we are committed to authentic communion and honest engagement with varying theological and Biblical interpretations around sexual orientation and gender identity.

As people committed to the Evangelical Covenant Church, we value the six Covenant affirmations.

We affirm the centrality of the word of God.

As Mission Friends, we have a high view of God’s word, and we humbly continue to engage all of Scripture and its trajectory toward justice and liberation when discerning complex topics. We believe Scripture is authoritative, not any particular interpretation of Scripture. We believe a faithful reading of scripture can lead one to affirm full participation in Christian institutions, such as marriage covenants, that were created to serve God and to make us more Christ-like. We believe the word of God is dynamic, and so we read courageously, with humility, and open to surprise. We read in communion with others, especially those on the margins, but also with those whose interpretation differs. In concert with the communal discernment of the Covenant’s resource paper on reading Scripture, we value the diverse reading of scripture communally, faithfully, holistically, rigorously, and charitably.

We affirm the necessity of the new birth.

As mission friends, we value the ongoing renewal of the church and the complexity of human life and mystery of the human experience in relation to Christ. We believe that all are sinners and that all can be redeemed. We recognize faithful Christians of all identities and of diverse theological convictions, and believe that new birth in Christ is tied primarily to love of Christ and transformation by God’s word. We believe that new birth is ongoing in the form of new life, and that new life shapes and shifts our understanding and living of God’s word throughout the course of a life. In other words, one’s relationship to God in Christ is foundational, and Scripture is that which mediates and strengthens that relationship. We believe that persons can be both Christian and affirmed as LGBTQ.

We affirm a commitment to the whole mission of the church.

As mission friends, we believe that God’s grace and mercy are available for all people, for all times and for all places. We proclaim Christ in Word and deed. We live the good news and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to convict and transform. We befriend all those who desire to follow Christ and work with him in mission. We believe the whole mission includes LGBTQ persons as co-workers with Christ.

We affirm the church as a fellowship of believers.

As mission friends, we are companions to all who fear the Lord and come to the font and table as a family of equals. We believe in an open Table and in baptism for all who desire to follow Christ. We believe in reconciliation between all people and that the power to do so comes from Christ alone. We are called to actively engage and befriend LGBTQ persons who have felt unwelcome in the church. Further, we repent of the sin of exclusion in this area. We believe that all Christ followers have gifts for the church and that those gifts should be used to advance God’s mission, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, and status.

We affirm a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit.

As mission friends, we believe the Holy Spirit binds us together as Christ’s body. We believe that dependence on the Holy Spirit calls us to take risks on behalf of the gospel. We believe that the Spirit is always breathing new life into God’s people, and in this time of discernment around human sexuality, we are called to pray, open our hearts and minds, and discern together what the Spirit is doing. Our trust in the Holy Spirit allows us to live in ambiguous spaces patiently and to remain committed to faithful, loving dialogue and care, particularly when it comes to full inclusion of persons who are LGBTQ.

We affirm the reality of freedom in Christ.

As Mission friends, we recognize relationships that value and transcend theological differences, we seek to focus on what unites us in Christ and not what divides us. Freedom ought to lead the church to a unity encompassing all who desire to follow Christ, including LGBTQ Christians. We believe freedom is granted in Christ alone and it is a gift that we steward. We believe that faith in Christ is not the same as doctrinal views, particular interpretations, or moral convictions. We believe that freedom is rooted not only in the word of God, but in the other affirmations including the gift of new birth, the whole mission of the church, the communion of believers, and our dependence on the Holy Spirit. These central affirmations breath life into the relationship between Scripture and Freedom.