Embrace a ‘Suite of Resources’ for Human Sexuality Discussions

CHICAGO, IL (March 9, 2018) – The Evangelical Covenant Church today announced the launch of Embrace, a suite of human sexuality discipleship resources and experiences that will include a series of upcoming webinars.

“A special emphasis of Embrace will be equipping us to flourish in love for LGBTQ+ communities and individuals,” said Michelle Sanchez, executive minister of Make and Deepen Disciples (MDD), which is curating and creating the materials. Team members of MDD are curating and creating the resources.

Sanchez added, “Embrace will be in harmony with the ECC’s adopted position, the center of which is ‘faithfulness in heterosexual marriage, celibacy in singleness—these constitute the Christian standard.’”

A series of webinars will be among the initial offerings. The first will be held on Tuesday, March 20, with Preston Sprinkle, author of People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue, a book that was distributed at the recent Midwinter Conference.

Please click here to learn more, register for the webinar, and sign up for future Embrace updates.

The materials will be progressively rolled out. “As we develop Embrace, we hope to receive feedback from diverse voices, especially with regard to existing resources or experiences which you have found to be helpful and effective,” Sanchez said. She encouraged people to email questions, comments, and suggestions to embrace@covchurch.org.

Sanchez said a verse from a song in the Covenant hymnal entitled, “We Are All One in Mission” is “particularly compelling as we move forward with Embrace.”

We are all called for service to witness in God’s name.

Our ministries are different, our purpose is the same:

To touch the lives of others by God’s surprising grace,

So people of all nations may feel God’s warm embrace.

“This is the purpose that unites us—to extend the surprising grace and warm embrace of God to everyone, including our LGBTQ+ family, friends, and neighbors,” Sanchez said.


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  1. Are there any LGBTQI persons involved in the “curating and creating” of these resources? Or is this another case of talking about us instead of with us? And you cannot “flourish in love for LGBTQ+ communities and individuals” while adhering to the stance of the ECC of “faithfulness in heterosexual marriage, celibacy in singleness”. It is not love to tell LGBTQI persons they cannot have the joy of a marriage to the person they love. And it will not feel like the “warm embrace of God” to the persons you tell cannot be married in their church, who cannot have their pastor participate in their wedding or who are forced to choose between following God’s call into ministry or living as their authentic self. A welcome with conditions is not a welcome. I hope the ECC understands this some day.

    1. I would like to have the answers to the question asked here. Are there in fact LGBTQ brothers and sisters helping to curate the materials and resources? As Jan Hensley-Olsen asked.
      Please let me know as our life group discussed this last night and asked me to get the answer. So, I will ask what our life group asked, are LGBTQ brothers and sisters on the team of Embrace and if yes, how many compared to straight brothers and sisters. How many people total are on the team, who decides and curates the resources. Is this a team effort with LGBTQ brothers and sisters critiquing and helping? And, if not, why not and how does that decision get made and who decides?

  2. I too am grateful for the initiatives to broaden the discussion of a very important issue for our denomination. One book not mentioned which might help in outlining the seven, yes seven, positions Christians take on the issue, along with deep scriptural study, is the book “A Time to Embrace” by William Stacy Johnson. I offer it as an addition to the list of resources. Although some will disagree with some of his conclusions, his in-depth study of scripture as used by Christians of differing insights would be worth the time for us all to help us discuss how we in the Covenant can deal with the issue and adhere to our abiding principle of accepting different interpretations, but live together as brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing his love with each other and with all God’s children.

  3. I am so thankful for the initiatives that Michele and her department are producing and inviting the greater Covenant family…not just the clergy…to learn greater skills of listening and loving our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. There are so many more of us in the pews of our churches than clergy on the platforms. These resources are a wonderful way in which the laity can be involved in the conversation. I have long felt that we must be more compassionate in the conversation without giving the impression that acceptance is not loving but affirming is. There are many actions, behaviors, and attitudes that Jesus did not affirm…but He honored and accepted each person’s humanity and place in God’s eyes. Thank you, Michele and associates.

    1. Are we to be led by “feelings” and our “authentic self” which is sinful in nature? Or are we to be led first and foremost by belief and obedience to God’s Word which promises to be ultimately for our good?
      I would really like to see Rosaria Butterfield used as a resource. She is the author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert and her book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World would be very helpful.

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