Hessel Park CRC, Champaign, IL

All confessing believers, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status may participate as full members of HPC. In sexual ethics, all members are held to the same standards in expectations of monogamy and fidelity to their spouses. All church members in good standing may receive the sacraments and lead in ministry. The full inclusion of LGBTQ members includes marriage, baptism, communion, and leading as pastors, deacons, and elders. Same-sex weddings may be held in the church building, and the pastor may officiate LGBTQ weddings.

Hessel Park Church Sexuality Policy Statement[1]

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

Both historically and currently, LGBTQ people were and continue to be harmed and excluded from the Church. We grieve that for many individuals, the harm is irreparable.[2] With others, we seek to reconcile, and we are committed both to demonstrating love to those in our community who have been harmed by churches in the past and to welcoming those who join our community in the future. Doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God requires recognizing the image of God in our neighbor.

As a community, we came to this policy with deep consideration. Conversations centered on questions related to homosexuality took place at Hessel Park Church from spring 2022 through fall 2023. Many members have personally navigated the topic for decades leading up to the discussion. Through this time of consideration and the conversations at Hessel Park Church (HPC), members came to different and conflicting conclusions. Though we still have disagreements, through conversation groups and congregational discernment, we found that as a church we have a deep love for one another and a strong desire to remain true to Scripture. We found that our commitment to the virtues of faith, love, and humility was stronger than our differences. We trust that God has been working among us, guiding us. Although the future will have its difficulties, we trust God will continue to be faithful to us. In humility, we seek to love all people, valuing their different perspectives and experiences.

Through this process, we came to realize several things about sexuality, the Church, and our culture. First, while the culture often idolizes sex, the church often makes an idol of marriage and family. The Church frequently prioritizes issues of sexuality over issues of social justice. A full reading of scripture demonstrates that issues related to the poor and marginalized are far more prominent than concern for sexual purity. Second, because of  the Church’s idolization of marriage and having children, single people often feel undervalued. In this light, we commit to supporting people in their relationships and in their singleness. For some, singleness will be an act of obedience to God, and for others, it will be a circumstance of life. We recognize that people will have unique experiences of singleness, and our support will also mean walking with those who are discerning how to be obedient to God.

HPC has also come to acknowledge that Christians can faithfully interpret Scripture as affirming LGBTQ identities and relationships.[3] Not all members agree that Scripture affirms same-sex relationships, yet we are unified in valuing our LGBTQ members. As a church, we will support those who discern God’s guidance in entering the covenant of marriage and those who discern that obedience means remaining single. We believe LGBTQ members are vital to the flourishing of Christian community at HPC and in the global Church. Diversity in gender identity and sexual orientation are not things to be merely tolerated but celebrated.

[1] Drafted using affirming statements from other CRC congregations, published at All One Body.    

[2] The irreparable harm includes the harm to people who have died of suicide, hate crimes, and AIDS. Youth who have heard their parents use religion to say negative things about being LGBTQ are at an increased risk for suicide. For many, there is a close link between being told homosexuality is sinful and their suicide attempts.

[3] The report from Classis Grand Rapids East Study Committee on the Bible and Life-long Same Sex Relationships explains a basis for an affirming position:


Download the current list of affirming churches and their statements here.