An evangelical university in Chicago, Illinois, has suspended its campus pastor on Jan. 2. and put her on paid sabbatical leave after she opted to officiate a same-sex wedding even though she was aware that the move could jeopardize her career.
A statement issued by North Park University several days ago revealed that its campus pastor Judy Peterson had been suspended because of her decision to officiate a gay wedding. The Board of Ordered Ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church, which founded the university, will decide on her future later this month, The Christian Post relayed.
"Campus Pastor Judy Peterson, having had her ordination credential suspended by the denomination for non-compliance of an instruction of the ordered ministry, will enter the new year on paid sabbatical leave from her role as campus pastor," said NPU in a statement.
In an email shared by pro-LGBT group Mission Friends 4 Inclusion, Pastor Peterson revealed that it had taken her a few months to decide on whether she would push through with officiating the gay wedding in April 2017. Nevertheless, she went ahead with the decision and said it was a way to show how Jesus Christ could love other people.
The doctrine of the ECC defined marriage as a union exclusively between one man and a woman. However, NPU said it welcomed respectful conversations on issues where its staff and students differed in opinion.
In November 2016, NPU made headlines after an openly bisexual Chicago student named Taylor Volk claimed that she had received anti-gay notes and emails after President Donald Trump was elected. However, the university later found out that her claims were mere fabrications, The Washington Times reported.
After investigating Volk's claims, NPU President David Parkyn released a statement saying they were confident that no other incident of intolerance would happen within their campus. He also added that Volk would no longer be able to study at the evangelical university.