Adventist Churches in Maryland Discuss the State’s Same-sex Marriage Initiative
by AT News Team
In November voters in the state of Maryland will be asked to vote on a measure that would permit marriage between two partners of the same sex. There are more than 40,000 members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the state, although at least 10 percent of these are likely not of voting age.
This Sabbath (October 5 and 6) two Adventist churches in the Washington DC area will be hosting presentations and discussions on the topic of homosexuality, according to Claude Steen, editor of an independent newsletter for pastors and educators on the needs of lesbian and gay church members. The ballot measure has sparked wide interest among Adventists.
The new documentary Seventh-Gay Adventists will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Capital Memorial Church in Washington DC. The film will be followed by a panel discussion with several Adventists from a variety of professions and viewpoints. The meeting is part of the regular First Friday series organized by Adventist young adults in the metropolitan area where the denomination’s world headquarters is located.
The question of how Adventists should respond to that ballot initiative is part of the focus of a day-long forum on Saturday at the Spencerville Church. At 11:15 a.m. Bill Knott, editor of the Adventist Review will preach and in the afternoon a panel will present the denomination’s traditional position on homosexuality. The event is being organized by Nicholas Miller, a lawyer and a faculty member in the seminary at Andrews University. He is also one of the editors of the nearly 600-page book published in August by Andrews University Press entitled Homosexuality, Marriage, and the Church. The event will defend Adventist doctrine and explore the threat to religious liberty posed by changing societal attitudes towards homosexuality.
The weekend represents a departure for Adventist churches in that what has long been a taboo subject will be openly discussed. Daneen Akers, who with her husband Stephen Eyer, produced the film Seventh-Gay Adventists, said that the documentary “follows the stories of three gay and lesbian Adventists as they struggle to be true to themselves and their faith. This intersection of faith and sexuality is at the core of many political, religious, and family conversations today, and the film offers viewers the opportunity to experience the spiritual journey of a gay person of faith. [It] isn't about changing anyone's beliefs; it's just about listening to a demographic that is talked about and at but seldom within our church.”
Capitol Memorial Church is located at 3150 Chesapeake Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20008. More information on the Friday evening meeting is available on the Facebook page of Metro Area Adventist Young Adults: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MAAYA-Ministry-First-Fridays/279997310352
Spencerville Church is located at 16325 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905. More information about the symposium on Sabbath is at: https://www.spencervillesda.org/