Christian Group Holds Prayer for EMU as University Nears Hiring Policy Decision

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

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HARRISONBURG,Va. (WHSV)-- Eastern Mennonite University, is close to the end of its six month listening process. Now is a time for the members of the university to review EMU's hiring policy of people in same-sex relationships.

Currently, people in same-sex relationships can't be hired.

A group of people gathered on EMU's campus in prayer said they took the advice of the university, which welcomed prayer and feedback during the process.This group has a petition in support of the university keeping the policy the way that it is.

"Well, if we changed our minds every time that the culture changed their minds, then we wouldn't be setting forth biblical principles," said Chaplain John Sloop, of the Valley Family Forum.

Chaplain Sloop is one of the people praying for the University's decision. Members of the forum believe a Christian university should follow Christian teachings.

"It means abstinence outside of marriage, it defines marriage as between one man and one woman," said Dean Welty, the director of the Valley Family Forum.

The petition, a marriage declaration, has nearly 300 signatures.

"Simply hold firm to what the church has always believed and not bow down or give into this pressure to change," said Chaplain Sloop.

One student, Erin Freeman, who identifies as bisexual, said the current policy is not inclusive. Instead, she said some staff members identify as gay but cannot say anything.

"There isn't a problem with the Bible and the way it would be interpreted and having this be an open and inclusive campus," said Freeman, "the process asks the community, students and staff to be involved through surveys and feedback."

"My concern is that from straying from the very clear scriptural teaching on what constitutes marriage that even the students will begin to wonder well, does the word, does the bible really mean what it says," said Welty.

But others think change is needed.

"There has been an increase in the number of people who have felt like they can come here and say, 'Okay, I am gay,'" said Freeman.

The board of trustees will make the final policy decision on June 20 and 21.

The Valley Family Forum will take the petition to the board of trustees at EMU.

The prayer gatherings, which will continue until the decision, are held by the outside community, not EMU.


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