As we approach the discussion at the Methodist Conference of the Report ‘God in love unites us’, the group, Methodist Evangelicals Together, has issued a statement in opposition to much of what the report recommends. Dignity and Worth has consistently reached out to the leadership of MET and tried to find common ground on which we might stand together. It is, therefore, with deep sadness that we read this Statement.
We agree with MET that this report is not comprehensive and some aspects have been overlooked, especially the experience of those who are, by calling, choice or circumstance, single. It would certainly have made for a richer report, although we are also aware that there are a wide variety of people in this category and they do not speak with one voice. However, we are also aware that the Connexion has produced resources and reports over the last forty years that have clearly expounded many perspectives held by those in our Church.
We are disappointed, however, that MET has maintained the stance that their particular interpretation of Scripture represents the only legitimate Biblical view of marriage or relationships. Having travelled together over the last forty years and more, we do not feel that they have listened to alternative perspectives. The Statement fails to recognise that other Methodists have struggled with the same texts, including those who own the name evangelical, and come, through prayer and discernment, to different conclusions. MET’s refusal to contemplate a Church where we live together with contradictory convictions, and not allow those convictions to become an obstacle to love and fellowship, is one that troubles us deeply.
Dignity and Worth’s Prayer of Commitment includes the lines:
We celebrate God’s radical diversity woven into
the rich tapestry of creation.
We will work and worship together with those who are like us
and those who are not.
We seek the strength never to be silent in the face of injustice.
We will make space for others, even when it costs us much.
Having listened to some of our conservative sisters and brothers, we know that what is being proposed in the Report will cause pain and loss. We know that some are now considering their position in the Church and we continue to hope and pray that they will reconsider and stay in fellowship with us. However, we respect the decision of anyone whose conscience takes them in a particular direction.
Dignity and Worth, our members and supporters, still believe that a diverse Church is not only possible, but worth fighting for. The ‘mixed economy’ is the best way, in our view, to hold together conscience and connexion in a fruitful tension. We continue to pray for all those who are charged with making the decision at Conference next week: that they are filled with the Spirit of wisdom and discernment, of mercy of truth.
FOR PRINTABLE VERSION, CLICK ON: Statement from the Leadership of Dignity and Worth following the Methodist Conference.