Methodist church votes to oppose gay marriage and clergy
April 15, 2019
A general conference was held from February 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri that ultimately voted to uphold the current stance in The Book of Discipline, which constitutes the law of the United Methodist church.
“No part of The Book of Discipline generates more controversy than its teachings on homosexuality,” Guilford College United Methodist pastor Matt Smith said. “The Discipline tries to strike a moderate position. It begins by affirming that all people are of sacred worth and United Methodists are called to be in ministry with all people.”
The teachings are decided upon every for years at the general conference by all Methodists , from the ones in Africa, to the ones in the United States.
“The general conference is the supreme authority of the church,” Smith said. “We have bishops who interpret The Book of Discipline, but this is the only group who speaks with authority.”
There were three options up for discussion– The Traditional Plan, The One Church Plan, and The Connectional Conference Plan.
The Traditionalist Plan, which is the one that passed, requires every annual conference to enforce the ban on performing gay marriages and ordaining ministers who are gay.
The One Church Plan states that no bishop, congregation, or pastor is forced to act contrary to their convictions.
The Connectional Conference Plan would replace the denomination’s five current U.S. jurisdictions with three “connectional conferences.” The present geographical jurisdictions would be given the opportunity to identify with a conservative, centrist, or progressive connectional conference. If a church doesn’t want to follow its connectional conference, it would have the freedom to join another.
“Some were heart broken and some were relieved when the plan passed,” Smith said. “Hopefully we can be kind and loving even when we don’t agree.”
A personal statement:
I was baptized in the Methodist church as well as my mom, brother and grandpa. But, sometimes change is necessary. With this issue dear to our hearts, my mom and I have chosen to explore new denominations of christianity, ones more inclusive to all people. We believe that if someone is called to serve, he or she should not be prevented from doing so solely based on sexuality. Marriage also should be based on love and discriminating against couples who have already faced challenges is not the way to spread Jesus’ teachings. Some churches are more supportive of liberal views which is why my mom and I have decided to leave the Methodist church.