Reinstate Judy Howard Peterson as Campus Pastor of North Park University
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On December 27, 2017, the North Park University community was informed that Pastor Judy Howard Peterson’s credentials had been suspended by the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) and that she was being placed on a paid sabbatical, removing her from ministry on the campus during the spring semester. Judy’s case was reviewed by the ECC Board of Ordered Ministry on January 19, 2018. At that time the board asserted that it would not prevent NPU from holding conversations with Judy about the possibility of her returning as Campus Pastor in the fall. Judy took some time to prayerfully consider whether, given all that has transpired, she felt called to return, and she has concluded that the answer is yes. NPU has not yet made an announcement as to whether they will support her return.
We are students, faculty, staff and alumni of North Park and our families and friends. We are calling on NPU administrators and the Board of Trustees to follow through on their statements of good will to the community, and to reinstate Pastor Judy Peterson. We are calling on NPU to make a decision that is in the best interest of students, faculty and staff, even if that differs from the preferences ECC leaders have expressed. We are appealing most of all for the prayers of those who love and support North Park: that we will continue to grow into that vision of the beloved community, so often preached and modeled to us by Pastor Judy, where all are welcomed, and where what makes each of us unique and distinctive is upheld as a gift not a problem.
We believe that the circumstances of Pastor Judy’s removal do not disqualify her from continuing her effective ministry among North Parkers. Judy has been able to navigate contentious debates in ways that make room for people on all sides of the issue. She has provided spiritual care no matter who we are: Covenant/evangelical, mainline, Pentecostal, Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, white, POC, citizen, international, DACA, conservative, liberal, queer, straight, trans, and questioning. She has proclaimed the good news in season and out, she has lifted our hearts to the Lord, she has showed us what it means to walk with Jesus.
We believe that Judy’s unique pastoral gifts and ministry on campus will enhance the climate that was called for by NPU on January 4, to “promote the Covenant tradition of open dialogue on difficult topics,” and to continue the “redemptive path forward.” Join us in making this petition to NPU and please share to your networks within the North Park family. We are looking to have as many signatories as possible before graduation, May 12. Thank you!
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