On January 4, 2018, North Park University published the following statement. We celebrate the steps the university is adopting to hear from, care for, and more fully include LGBTQ students and their allies in university policies and programs.
Institutional conflict can lead to division or it can provide opportunities for us to better listen to each other and find a way forward. We are encouraged by the progress noted in this statement towards Christian care and inclusion. These are significant steps, and yet, as their statement alludes to, there is more work to do to ensure that North Park is a safe and affirming place for all people: students, faculty and staff. We join the campus community in praying for the university administration and the Board of Trustees as they continue this important work.
We encourage the Evangelical Covenant Church to follow NPU’s example and create space for open and honest dialogue by suspending the current guidelines (see and sign our petition here) and modeling how we can be Covenant in the deepest and widest sense of that tradition.
The statement from North Park University is below (source).
Centered in the Christian gospel, North Park University is committed to serving students regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. The University is further committed to creating an environment where every student can flourish and realize their full potential.
The University sincerely regrets and is sorry for the hurt and confusion experienced by students, faculty, staff, and friends of the school in the days since the news of the actions taken by the Evangelical Covenant Church leading to the North Park University campus pastor’s sabbatical and suspension of her credential.
The University administration and Board of Trustees affirm the remarkable and transformative work of Pastor Judy Peterson, as campus pastor. She is loved and respected by many in the North Park community and beyond. We have received messages of overwhelming support for her and many stories of the lives she has touched. We encourage ongoing prayer for Pastor Judy in this time of discernment and all parties seek to remain in dialogue.
Since the announcement of her sabbatical, we have received a number of questions about how we care for our LGBTQ students and how we promote the Covenant tradition of open dialogue on difficult topics. We are working to respond to these concerns of students, alumni and other community members. The University has been and will take the following steps to meet these concerns:
- Hosting a campus wide conversation presenting a variety of perspectives on faith, scripture and sexuality in order to advance and model a faithful dialogue.
- Creating space for personal story-telling sessions for students and listening sessions for the administration to fully hear the concerns of the student body.
- Forming a joint task force with representatives from Student Government and the Queers and Allies student organization to review university policy on bias to ensure LGBTQ students are properly protected and supported.
- Developing through the Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion a set of recommendations for additional programmatic ways to care for LGBTQ students.
- Immediately expanding our student care work to ensure high quality counseling services to all students to help them grow into their full potential in an environment free from judgment and shame.