Major S. African Church Votes For Same-Sex Unions And Gay/Bi Ministers
YES! for Gay People in Dutch Reformed Church – NG Kerk – There were Tears of joy after the announcement.
History was made in South Africa today, when the synod of what was once probably the most conservative church on the planet, the Dutch Reformed Church, (NG Kerk/ DRC) in an overwhelming majority, voted in favor of ordaining gay ministers and blessing same sex unions.
Translating from the Afrikaans language I was able to determine this:
The DRC’s general synod chose to move forward with regard to the church’s position on gay relationships. Two proposals before the Synod were received as follows: Dr. Andre Bartlett with 102 votes against the 88 votes received by Dr. Chris van Wyk’s proposal. Van Wyk’s proposal asked that further research on the matter occur before a decision was to be made. But it was decided that the time to keep researching and not make a decision, is over.
“I was flabbergasted, but I think it’s a great step forward for the restoration of the dignity of our church’s gay members,” Bartlett said after the announcement of the vote.
Bartlett’s proposal noted that heterosexual and homosexual couples in a relationship of “personal faith obedience to the Lord,” must be allowed to fully participate in all the privileges of the church.
It was however stated that there would be no forcing of the issue. Because some in the Church continue to believe marriage should be between a man and woman, an element of discretion is still given to the church councils to formulate their own practices and rules. It was stated that no one should be forced to conduct gay marriages, because there is such a diverse amount of views within the church about it. (Source Netwerk 24)
This new ruling where the Church in essence now approves same-sex marriage and the ordaining of gay ministers may be the saving grace for the Church’s sliding popularity.
This is the Church that once all but controlled a country which thrived on discrimination. It may even be described the as the religious wing of Apartheid. Drawing on an old article in the Mail Guardian, “The Slow and Steady Death of the NG Church…” Charles Leonard back in 2010 paints this picture: