Saturday, February 12, 2005

Seminary President Fired For Performing Lesbian Daughter's Wedding


This is sad, very sad. But I commend this man for having the courage to say "I support" my daughters relationship, and he went as far as officiating the ceremony. we need more parents like that, more courageous men and ministers who will step up and be counted upon. shame on you New Brunswick Theological Seminary. This will be a black mark on your institution. And that is not a good thing is it ??


by The Associated Press

Posted: February 11, 2005 7:30 pm. ET

(New Brunswick, New Jersey) The New Brunswick Theological Seminary has ousted its president and reprimanded him for officiating at his gay daughter's wedding.

The seminary is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America.

The school's board of trustees said the Rev. Norman Kansfield, 64, performed the ceremony in Massachusetts.

"We decided that the president had put the seminary in an awkward position by performing that ceremony without giving us the benefit of offering sufficient counsel," the Rev. Larry Williams Sr., a member speaking on the board's behalf, told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's newspapers. "It could have hurt the school if it divided people in our student body, if it divided our faculty, if it divided other people who support us."

In a letter sent shortly before the June 19 wedding of his daughter, Anne, Kansfield informed the board of his decision to officiate, and said he wasn't seeking its permission. The board voted Jan. 28 not to renew Kansfield's contract.

Kansfield said he had not done anything to hurt his denomination, the Reformed Church of America.

"People presume I have been on a crusade," he said. "In point of fact, I'm a conservative theologian. I would not do anything that goes against the church."

The Reformed Church's roots date to Dutch settlers who arrived in America 400 years ago. It is one of the more conservative denominations in the National Council of Churches.

Unlike its fellow mainline Protestant churches _ such as Episcopalians and Methodists _ the church has not had high-profile controversies over gay rights.

But the denomination's national office in Grand Rapids, Mich., said formal complaints have been filed against Kansfield, who expects to be brought up on charges in June at the church's General Synod in Schenectady, N.Y.

Kansfield, who said he has had close gay friends since high school and his early days as a minister in Queens, said he sought permission from Massachusetts authorities last summer before he performed the ceremony.

He said a trial would be the highest-profile proceeding in the church since 1962, when a seminary professor questioned whether the first parts of Genesis should be taken literally.

Kansfield said he really wanted to perform his daughter's wedding ceremony. Anne and her partner, Jennifer Aull, agreed. The couple lives in New York City.

"Some people support what he did, some people don't," said Dave Haase, a second-year master's of divinity student. "Some people are on the fence."

Haase said he thought the board reacted out of "fear" of the broader controversy that Kansfield's actions might create.

"We know very well that fear is the opposite of faith," he said. "They were worried about how conservatives would react. Unfortunately, church government tends to get very defensive when (it) feels threatened."

©Associated Press 2005


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