I certainly cannot speak for everyone, nor for the denomination, and I’m not sure we’ll ever be “one mind” about anything. But I can share one pastor’s perspective — mine.
People are people. We are all the same in many ways. We are children of God. We are made in the image of God. We are made for relationship, made to share the divine light within us with each other, made to serve and give and love fully and freely and without fear. We have wants, dreams, desires — and fears, insecurities, and confusion. We all have gifts — given us to share with each other. I deeply believe God wants the best for each of us, and for ALL of us together as a community.
We are all different in some ways: skin color, hair color, eye color, favorite colors. Different favorite baseball teams, flavors of ice cream, textures of vegetables. Some are right-handed. Some are left-handed. Some are ambidextrous.
We’re the same, but different. Different, but the same.
I think it helps to view sexual orientation in view of all other kinds of difference, preferences, uniquenesses. It’s just one more way we are different but the same. I do not look forward to a world pictured in certain sci-fi novels & movies where the world is made up of automatons who are all the same, where individuality and personality have been lost to mechanism and efficiency. I like a world with color, flavor, difference.
So in short, I view different sexual orientations as just one more aspect of the varied world God has created, giving each of us different gifts and preferences to express. In our congregation you are welcome as a person, as a child of God, no matter what, period. You are welcome to use your gifts, to read scripture, to serve communion, to teach classes, to be Chair of the Elders — b/c you are a child of God. At least that is our goal. I confess that sometimes if you express views which are extremely conservative or fundamentalist, you might get looked at askance. But we are trying to work on that. A little. Or at least, it’s crossed our minds.
I do think there is room for discussion about ethics and sexuality — about mutuality, about life-affirming, about respect, about boundaries related to age and power. But those are inter-relational ethics that are the same no matter what orientation.
My own view is that homosexuality is a gift from God just like heterosexuality is a gift from God — different gifts for different people. I hope every person of any stripe comes to view their own particular sexuality as a gift, not a curse. Because negative views of one’s own sexuality cross all orientations and tear at the soul. I also hope we can celebrate and affirm each other — all of us — and support each other on our journeys.