The Church has dealt with many issues in the past that have caused fundamental differences of view, or even division. Yet we are called into unity. Often it has been possible to reach agreement on these theological or ethical differences, but sometimes we have continued to live with differences in our convictions. For example, there are a wide range of views on matters such as alcohol, pacifism and financial ethics.
There is also a wide range of views when it comes to considering whether the Church should revisit its definition of marriage to allow same sex marriage in Church. Whilst recognising that the Church continues to live with contradictory convictions, it is also important to work together, as members of the Body of Christ, to listen and discuss prayerfully to try to resolve differences, and not passively ‘agree to disagree’.
The 2018 Conference directed the Marriage and Relationships Task Group to bring a report to the Conference in 2019 setting out a number of theological arguments and recommendations concerning the most pressing issues in the Church’s understanding of relationships and marriage.
The Conference also adopted a Notice of Motion which directed the Task Group to ensure that the recommendations to be brought to the Conference include options for “a way forward that is consistent with the existing commitment to live with contradictory convictions” and enable, amongst other things, “those who feel called by God to solemnise same sex marriages to do so” and “protection for ministers, probationers, members and churches prevented by conscience from participation in such services”.
There were several comments in the debates at the Conference that, despite numerous opportunities over many years for consultation about the Church’s understanding of relationships and marriage, many individuals and local churches had not engaged much in discussion of the pressing issues. The Circuit is therefore keen to encourage such conversations in every part of the life of the Church and Circuit.
You are invited to come and share in the conversation, whether you support same-sex marriage, are opposed to same-sex marriage or just don’t know what to think! This will take place at Victoria Methodist Church on Thursday 7th February at 2pm OR 7.30pm. This invitation is open to everyone connected with the Methodist Church and is an opportunity to engage with those who may see things differently openly, honestly, prayerfully and graciously.
Let us seek to learn from one another as we travel together as fellow pilgrims.
Yours in Christ,