February 23 – 26 in St. Louis, a special General Conference was held. The purpose was to address one issue: will the language of the Discipline be changed as it relates to the matter of marriage and ordination? In brief: no changes were made.
The UMC has always had in the Discipline that we are to love all people: no exceptions. We have always had as our policy: open doors to all. That too has not changed. The Social Principles clearly state that all persons are consider of Sacred Worth. The Social Principles also define marriage as that which takes place between one man and one woman. While that too has not changed, it is fairly certain that at the next regularly scheduled General Conference, which will be held in 2020, there likely will be some modifications presented.
Currently a UM Pastor is not permitted to officiate at a same gender wedding, nor can a UM facility be used for that purpose. The Social Principles do acknowledge that all people are entitled the privileges of marriage, even same gender marriages that are performed in a Civil Ceremony. In a related matter, the Social Principles continue to prohibit a person who is actively involved in a same gender relationship to be ordained.
Last night our Ash Wednesday Service closed with these words. Live Christ. Love All. No Exceptions. Give Hope. Personally I want very much to live up to that credo. Diversity of all kind is something to be celebrated. We are different. We think different. We act different. But we can and should all love alike. Love, more than any other attribute of God, is what needs to define our actions with and towards one another.
Let us truly Love All. No exceptions. In so doing we will “Live Christ” and “Give Hope”.
If you would like to discuss this further, or have questions, contact me on my cell – 267-664-5716, or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Jim Carver