While re-affirming Bethel’s stance on the issue, Barnes advocates for relationships despite disagreement.
Marissa Gamache | News Editor
Perched directly across from a gaping hole in the oval of faculty, Bethel University President Jay Barnes showed little excitement for the coming conversation. President Barnes had one hour to address the faculty senate meeting about his letter, co-authored with Scott Ridout, president of Converge Ministries, addressing the churches affiliated with Converge Ministries. Their letter was an affirmation that both Bethel and Converge, in the wake of uncertainty with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), would continue to hold fast in the traditional beliefs of marriage between one man and one woman.
President Barnes opened his discussion by explaining the decision to pen a letter at this time was in the hopes of solidifying Bethel and Converge’s stance on the issue before speculation could cause unrest in affiliated congregations. This step was taken after “Several discussions with the board of trustees,” Barnes said. With one church in Wisconsin already removing themselves from Converge, Barnes thought it was crucial to reassure churches that the stance on homosexuality from both Bethel and Converge Ministries was unchanged.
President Barnes said we, as a community, need to continue to love and accept those who have different views and beliefs.
“Doesn’t mean we can’t have relationship or friendship even though we disagree,” he said.
President Barnes said he holds his beliefs on homosexuality to be true to scripture. With hopes of moving forward and embracing conversation about the topic, there has been an LGBT task force set up; its goal to facilitate conversation.
The CCCU does many great things for Bethel in the form of lobbying government for protections for private colleges, to offering support and guidance for faculty and staff, he said. The CCCU is something that President Barnes sees Bethel being a part of for many years to come.
The group’s next meeting is set for January 2016 in Denver, Colorado.