CARVER COUNTY, Minn. (FOX 9) - Next week, Eastern Carver County Schools plan to host graduation ceremonies for Chaska and Chanhassen high schools at Eden Prairie’s Grace Church. But this year families are pushing for a change in venue after Chaska High Schooler Eli Frost created a petition.
On the petition that now has 364 signatures, Frost wrote: "Grace Church has a long history of making derogatory, public statements against the LGBTQ+ community. Further, they do not support divorce even in situations of domestic violence. As a community of students and parents who represent a wide variety of marginalized identities, we must change this venue."
The church responded with this statement: Since relocating to Eden Prairie 20 years ago, Grace Church has always endeavored to be a blessing to the community. As such, we’ve hosted over 100 graduation ceremonies for many high schools over the past two decades.
As a Christian church, we do affirm the teaching of the Bible regarding gender, marriage, and divorce, BUT we do not discriminate against anyone. We welcome EVERYONE.
Additionally, the claim that we support or somehow affirm domestic violence is false and categorically untrue. We have vital ministries trying to protect women and children while advocating for their well-being and safety.
Unfortunately, misunderstandings have led to an unfounded decision to protest a graduation ceremony at Grace Church. At Grace Church, we welcome conversations clarifying our position and our heart for the community. We believe talking to each other is a better strategy than canceling one another.
That said, we hope and pray we can continue to be a gracious neighbor to the Eastern Carver County School District.
On Tuesday afternoon, District #112 also weighed in:
The district and board care deeply about the experience of every one of our students, and we have been listening closely to the concerns raised by students and community members about our graduation venue. I want to be clear that the use of the Grace facility in no way implies endorsement or support of their beliefs, and we take great pains to make sure religious symbols are not present as part of the ceremony. Eastern Carver County Schools continues to look at other options, but there is no perfect solution. In every situation there are going to be students and families impacted by the graduation site location, so we continue to try to evaluate based on the needs of all the students we serve while being fiscally responsible.
Graduation is scheduled for Friday, June 8; although some students say they will not attend.