NAC from A to Z

Divorce

The Church supports all societal efforts to protect the institutions of marriage and the family. For various reasons, however, a matrimonial relationship can be so badly shattered that it appears impossible to preserve it any longer despite the efforts of the parties involved and the support of pastoral care and marriage counselling.

During and after the separation process the parties are accountable for their actions before both God and man. Even in this situation, the guiding principle must be the doctrine of Jesus. Injurious words and actions as well as “hate campaigns” stand in stark contradiction to this teaching. By no means should more details than absolutely necessary be divulged to the outside world.

The couple should be aware that their conduct will influence how people in their immediate surroundings and the members in the congregation will react. Respect, esteem, and the sincere endeavour to forgive and reconcile are helpful in dealing with the process of separation and healing the wounds that have been inflicted.

A couple’s joint responsibility for their children requires them to arrive at a consensus that assures the children the best possible mental and social care. In normal cases children need both father and mother, and thus they also require contact with the parent who will not be living with them. It is important for their sakes that parents speak of one another with respect.

It is desirable for family members, members of the congregation, and especially ministers to remain impartial toward the separating parties and their children. They should not spread rumours or meddle in the situation, but rather continue to deal with the parties involved in the mind and spirit of Christ.

The congregation should remain a refuge of security and warmth for the affected parties. They should receive special pastoral care (as far as possible) during this period.

If the separating parties express the wish to attend divine services in separate congregations, the responsible ministers will support their wish.

If requested, a different minister can be assigned to provide pastoral care to the parties involved.