Reporting to a recent meeting of Classis Toronto (a regional group of churches), official church visitors from the classis stated that First Christian Reformed Church of Toronto has brought its ministry to gay and lesbian members in line with the denomination’s guidelines.
The congregation set off a firestorm of controversy in 2002 when it expressed its intent to allow gay and lesbian members living in committed relationships to be nominated for the church offices of elder and deacon.
The congregation later retracted its plan, but the matter was taken all the way to synod (the Christian Reformed Church’s annual leadership meeting).
However, this past fall church visitors to First CRC concluded that the congregation has indeed tailored its ministries according to denominational guidelines for same-gender relationships.
They reported that the congregation, which has experienced growth in the number of people attending worship, children’s Sunday school, and the young adults group, is determined to remain part of the CRC as that is a fundamental part of its identity. As such, the report stated, “Although they find it difficult to adhere to all the guidelines, they have committed to keeping them and it is their intention to live up to their promise and commitment.”
Classis Toronto accepted the report and adopted a recommendation that classis and First CRC work toward full reconciliation and restoration.