May 26, 2014
Response to Susan Oxley and CEM Leadership Team
by Wendy Williams
From: Darryl and Chris Withrow; Peter and Wendy Williams
Dear Scarborough Congregation:
We want to let everyone know that Shaun's priesthood has been revoked by the Community of Christ. This is due to the fact that he is co-habiting with Danica, and, in the church's view, this is in violation of church priesthood standards and church policy.
We, as parents of Shaun and Danica, do not agree with the church's position that Shaun is in violation of church policy or standards as outlined in any church documents. Further, church administrators have been unable to provide documentation that this policy against cohabitation exists. By revoking Shaun's priesthood, the church is basically saying that Shaun and Danica's relationship is immoral when we, as their parents, know the opposite to be true. Shaun and Danica are, in fact, in a loving, caring, and responsible relationship – the type of relationship that church documents have specified as the type of relationship priesthood are expected to uphold. Whether they are married or not has no bearing on Shaun's ability to fulfil and minister in his priesthood calling. Much of Shaun's ministry is with the young adults and youth and his example of care, compassion, love, respect, his ability to embrace diversity and champion ideas, and give voice (in action and prayer) to the needs of his community are virtues that are recognized and respected by this very special group of friends and members. What kind of message is this action sending to them about the church and its relevancy in their lives?
A website has been set up to encourage congregations to prepare and vote on motions related to this issue and bring them forward at the Oct 18 CEM Conference. It also contains essays and documents that have been submitted. The website talks about other priesthood revocations. However, we are particularly concerned that Shaun's priesthood card was taken and about its direct impact on the young adult community.
We encourage everyone to go to this website and read the proposals and other items there. We urge you to add your name to the list of people in support of this dialogue within the Community of Christ. Most of all, we urge you to attend the CEM Conference, participate in this dialogue, and to vote in support of change on this issue.
The website is: \http://thedialogueplace.ca
From the “Command Centre” (home) page, choose “Advocate Dialogue Centre” at the bottom of the page. This page lists the Proposed Motions for the October 18th CEM Conference and documents related to the revocation of Shaun's priesthood.
Back on the “Command Centre” page, choose “Advocate Names” at the bottom right to add your name in support of this dialogue within Community of Christ. The more names we have on that list, the more clout we will have for this dialogue to take place at this upcoming CEM conference.
Darryl, Chris, Peter, and Wendy