The United Methodist Church (UMC) & homosexuality
Activity by various UMC groups:
From year 2006 until now
The United Methodist Student
Development Conference approved a series of resolutions urging their
denomination to be more tolerant and inclusive towards
homosexuals. They passed 14 resolutions on the topic. One criticized a
church court for its decision to deprive "lay people of their rights."
That court decison upheld the right of a minister in Virginia to withhold church
membership from a man because he is a homosexual. The resolution passed by a vote of
199 to 28. 1
See the developments at the 2008 General Conference where the Church affirmed that homosexual behavior is incompatible with Christian teaching.
The highest church court in the UMC ruled that active and retired clergy cannot perform same-sex marriages or even civil unions. Loving committed same-sex couples are to be considered as roommates, and their children as illegitimate. The ruling was in response to more than 80 retired UMC clergy from Northern California who said that they would conduct SSM marriage ceremonies for active clergy who are unable to perform them.
A workshop called "Raising children who are gay" was held at the United Methodist Women Assembly on APR-30. Leaders were Marlene Crowder, Parents Reconciling Network member, and Sue Laurie, former Outreach Coordinator for Reconciling Ministries Network. The description of the workshop states:
"However you feel about homosexuality, having a 'gay' child presents some very real challenges in our communities. From bullying issues to healthy sexuality to how the parent feels, this workshop explores these challenges and provides suggestions for communities and churches services to help."
- 2011-MAY-28: United Methodist Church regional conference approved SSM resolution: The annual Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church narrowly passed a resolution to allow clergy to perform civil union and marriage ceremonies for loving committed same-sex couples. The resolution sponsors, members of Washington's Foundry United Methodist Church, didn't expect it to be approved. Rev. Dean Snyder commented: "We presented the resolution as an occasion to have a conversation. Frankly, I didn’t think it would pass. This is very exciting, very moving." The resolution will have no effect initially. However it will now pass to the Church's national conference in 2012-APR in Tampa, FL. 2
- Rev. Bruce Robbins, pastor of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis read a statement titled: "Equality for All in Christian Marriage" to the 2011 Minnesota Annual Conference on JUN-01. In it, Bruce commits to marry loving, committed same-sex couples. By the end of the day, 40 Methodist clergy had cosigned the statement. By JUN-03, the total reached 70. According to the Christian Post, it says in part:
"We joyfully affirm that we will offer the grace of the Church’s blessing to any prepared couple desiring Christian marriage. ... "We are convinced by the witness of others and are compelled by Spirit and conscience to act. We thank the many United Methodists who have already called for full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the life of the Church. ... We repent that it has taken us so long to act. ... We realize that our church’s discriminatory policies tarnish the witness of the Church to the world, and we are complicity [sic]. We value our covenant relationships and ask everyone to hold the divided community of the United Methodist Church in prayer."
The United Methodist News Service reported that Bishop Sally Dyck said that supporting the principle of same-sex unions by signing a statement did not break any church rules. However, if a clergyperson actually officiated at a same-sex wedding ceremony, it would be a chargeable offense. 3
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Welcome to G.U.M. Research," at: http://www.gumresearch.net/
- Daniel Blake, "Local United Methodist Church Conference OKs Same-Sex Unions," The Christian Post, 2011-JUN-01, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
- Elena Garcia, "70 Methodist Clergy Agree to Wed Gay Couples," The Christian Post, 2011-JUN-03, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
Copyright © 2006 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on
Last update: 2012-MAY-03
Author: B.A. Robinson