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Campus pastor who officiated same-sex wedding suspended indefinitely by church denomination

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The Rev. Judy Peterson, the campus pastor for North Park University in Chicago, was suspended indefinitely by the denomination for officiating a same-sex wedding. North Park University is a Christian college affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

The campus pastor at North Park University in Chicago — a Christian college affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church — was suspended indefinitely by the denomination for officiating a same-sex wedding, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Evangelical Covenant Church suspended the credentials of the Rev. Judy Peterson last month after a photo of her officiating the wedding of two men — a former student and colleague — surfaced on social media, the paper reported. North Park placed Peterson on paid sabbatical, the Tribune added.

ECC policy since 2004 restricts clergy from officiating at same-sex weddings, the paper said, but the church invited Peterson to return in June to discuss the issue.

“A suspension is always extended with the hope of restoration where possible,” church leaders said in a statement Sunday, the Tribune reported. “One mark of a pathway toward credential reinstatement is ongoing observance of current guidelines and practices.”

More from the Tribune:

But members of the church say a lot has changed in 14 years and the denomination should revisit the issue. More than 4,800 people have signed a petition that calls for a deeper discussion on participating in same-sex weddings and a moratorium on disciplinary measures for clergy who play a role in those weddings. The church, they point out, has a long tradition of discussion, debate and tolerance when it comes to doctrine. [...]

With more than 850 churches in the U.S. and Canada and 225,000 in the pews every Sunday, the Evangelical Covenant Church is based on a tradition of pietism dating to the 17th century, a conviction that the religious feuds of the Reformation did harm to the Christian people and the Christian faith. Church members have agreed to disagree on a wide range of theological issues, including the appropriate age for baptism, whether women should serve in ministry, atonement and the end times.

What is a former North Park Theological Seminary president saying?

The Rev. John Phelan — former president of North Park Theological Seminary, which shares campus space with North Park University — told the paper that denominational leaders haven't been as willing to embrace a wide range of perspectives when it comes to same-sex marriage.

“Where we’ve been able to negotiate other things and give people permission to hold different opinions, this one is proving more difficult,” Phelan told the Tribune. “The question is not simply a matter of what kind of theological thinking you’re going to permit but what kind of actions are you going to permit.”

Phelan added to the paper: “This is proving to be a much more difficult and painful conversation with many people seeing this as a kind of line they don’t want to cross.”

What is Peterson saying?

Peterson preached Friday at nearby North Park Covenant Church after a campus rally for her, the Tribune reported, and the topic related to a pastor wondering after her fourth miscarriage if unconfessed sin was behind her tragedies.

“It’s always dicey to attach sin as a reason for someone’s condition, especially when it’s a condition they have no control over," Peterson said, according to the paper. "It’s just plain painful.”

North Park Covenant Church is with the Evangelical Covenant Church. An ECC spokesman on Wednesday morning didn't immediately respond to TheBlaze's request for comment regarding Peterson's reported sermon at a church in its denomination.

What else do we know about Peterson?

Peterson is known as the "walking pastor" after she walked across the United States for her internship toward her Master of Divinity degree at North Park Theological Seminary. She aimed to share the gospel with those she met during her yearlong trek, 100 Huntley Street reported.

Here's an video interview with Peterson:

(H/T: The College Fix)

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