Dignity and Worth and Outcome exist to pray and work for change in the Methodist Church in Britain and worldwide. We are committed to the vision of the Beloved Community, of a church that includes all God’s beloved, and celebrates relationships of love and trust, including same-sex marriage.
LGBT+ Methodists have been waiting a long time for the justice that comes from full inclusion and recognition. Despite the commitment to a pilgrimage of faith made by the Church at the 1993 Conference, recognition has been very slow, and celebration, patchy at best. Since 1993, LGBT+ people have received, in law, our full human rights and the protection of the State, but in the Church, the waiting still goes on.
We are deeply disappointed, therefore, that the Conference is not being offered the chance to fully discuss definitions of marriage this year. We note the intention to shorten the consultation time so that the end decision is still in 2020. However, it is now a quarter of a century since the Conference committed us to a pilgrimage of faith and yet, there are still too many places in our Connexion where the conversation has yet to begin.
Whilst we understand some of the reasons why there is not a full report to this year’s Conference, and we pray that those affected by ill health are recovering, we are concerned that the report reveals an obvious lack of proper resourcing for the group to carry out its work.
For many in our church who have been longing for change, another delay is a denial of justice. We seek a clear direction from this Conference that recognises the urgency of the task, celebrates our LGBT+ members, acknowledges their personal sacrifice, and positively affirms their relationships. We support all moves that will move the process on and will continue to resource local Churches and Circuits who wish to explore becoming truly inclusive. As we continue to pray for the Spirit of wisdom and discernment to guide our conversations, we are also reminded of what Martin Luther King called the ‘fierce urgency of now’.
In the past, it was felt that a policy of silence offered protection to vulnerable minorities, including LGBT+ Christians. Increasingly this has become a way to keep people in their place and pretend that all is well in the Church. For twenty-five long years, LGBT+ Methodists have waited for full recognition and equality. We have believed those who assured us that, in the end, all would be well. Waiting is not neutral and the burden is carried by LGBT+ people. It is #time4change.