Calendar Item 801

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The Petition is amended as follows:

Petition 81353-C2-ΒΆ161.D - Divorce
God’s plan is for lifelong, faithful marriage. The church must be on the forefront of premarital, marital, and postmarital counseling in order to create and preserve strong marriages. However, when a married couple is estranged beyond reconciliation, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, divorce is a regrettable alternative in the midst of brokenness. We grieve over the devastating emotional, spiritual, and economic consequences of divorce for all involved, understanding that women and especially children are disproportionately impacted by such burdens ,..and  As the church we are concerned about high divorce rates. It is recommended that methods of mediation be used to minimize the adversarial nature and fault-finding that are often part of our current judicial processes, encouraging with a bias in favor of reconciliation, wherever possible.  We also support efforts by governments to reform ourselves to examining how no-fault divorce laws and other aspects of family law in order to address can be reformed so as to not contribute to such negative trends such as high divorce rates.  

Although divorce publicly declares that a marriage no longer exists, other covenantal relationships resulting from the marriage remain, such as the nurture and support of children and extended family ties.  We urge respectful negotiations in deciding the custody of minor children and support the consideration of either or both parents for this responsibility in that custody not be reduced to financial support, control, or manipulation and retaliation.  The welfare of each child is the most important consideration.
Divorce does not preclude a new marriage.  We encourage an intentional commitment of the Church and society to minister compassionately to those in the process of divorce, as well as members of divorced and remarried families, in a community of faith where God’s grace is shared by all.