The Methodist Church and same-sex marriage

The Methodist Church in Great Britain looks set to be the largest Christian denomination to allow same-sex marriage in its churches. I heard this on BBC Radio Leeds on Sunday morning, 27th June 2021. In an interview Rev. Sonia Hicks, the president of the Methodist Conference, said that the move had been overwhelmingly approved by local churches.

There has been a lot of conversations the topic has been through circuit and district before coming to conference, 29 of 30 districts were in favour of the move before it arrived at conference. Not that it is a foregone conclusion, those at the conference are not delegates, they are not bound to vote according to what their district has voted and will make their own minds up.

Rev. Hicks said this was important to make the change now because what we understand about human sexuality and what we understand as relationships has changed. God loves them as they are, and if they come to the Methodist Church they will be accepted. The Conference ran from 24th June to 1st July.

An off-white candle with the symbol of the Methodist Church, a withe cross on a red circle, and the wording "Methodist Conference 2021."

The recent history of the Methodist Church in Great Britain in regards to same-sex relationships goes like this:

  • 1979 – the Methodist Conference first received a report about marriage and sexuality. 
  • 1992, – the Conference agreed its Statement on a Christian understanding of Family Life, the Single Person and Marriage. LGBT+ people are noticeable by their absence.
  • 2005 – The Methodist Church allows ministers who wish to perform same-sex blessings in church.
  • 2006 – The church does a u-turn and prohibits same-sex blessings on or off church property.
  • 2014 – The church allows ministers to enter into same-sex marriages and offer celebratory services to same-sex marriages.
  • 2019 – the Methodist Church of Great Britain allowed blessings of same-sex marriages.

Wednesday 30th June 2021. A Tweet from The Methodist Church @MethodistGB:
“The Conference has consented in principle to the marriage of sane-sex couples on Methodist premises and by Methodist ministers and other authorised officers. The full resolution is here:
https://www.methodist.org.uk/media/21969/conf-2021-59-marriage-and-relationships-provisional-resolutions-updated.pdf#page=26.”

To save you following the link, it says:

59/8. The Conference confirms resolution 10/8 of the Conference of 2019, as
originally adopted:
The Conference consents in principle to the marriage of same-sex couples on
Methodist premises throughout the Connexion and by Methodist ministers,
probationers or members in so far as the law of the relevant jurisdiction permits
or requires and subject to compliance with such further requirements, if any, as
that law imposes.

What a great and brave decision by the Methodist Conference. I pray that this resolution soon becomes practice. A fitting end to Pride Month.

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