Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6
Across the connexion, we’re seeing conversations about God in love unites us taking place in local churches, circuits and districts. Representatives of Dignity and Worth have been glad to be invited to take part in a number of them and we have more in the diary. We pay tribute to everyone across the church who is working hard to make sure everyone has the chance to take part in this important conversation.
We outlined in our last entry how the consultation and conversation process works and we encourage everyone to engage with it. If you’re not sure what’s happening in your district, circuit or church, do ask your minister or one of your circuit stewards for more information. Synods will be meeting soon – mostly in March and April – and as they prayerfully confer together about the report they need to be aware of the conversations from across their district. The votes from Synods will then help to inform the Conference as it makes the final decision in the summer.
It’s important to be clear on what’s being proposed (and what isn’t). On marriage, the changes would allow those who feel called to celebrate same sex marriages to do so, while not putting others under any obligation to take part in any way. No church will have to host same sex marriages. We’d encourage people to look carefully at the report itself and the other resources on the Methodist Church website that help to explain it. Additional resources are available from Dignity and Worth and from other organisations. In particular, we’re currently discussing guidance about marriage and relationships and a potential new Standing Order regulating our practice on marriage. We support the proposed new Standing Order that gives space for the different convictions that Methodists have:
The Methodist Church believes that marriage is given by God to be a
particular channel of God’s grace, and that it is in accord with God’s purposes
when a marriage is a life-long union in body, mind and spirit of two people who freely enter it. Within the Methodist Church this is understood in two ways: that marriage can only be between a man and a woman; that marriage can be between any two people. The Methodist Church affirms both understandings and makes provision in its Standing Orders for them.
We support the widest possible conversation about this report and hope everyone takes the opportunity to share their views, prayerfully and graciously.