The United Methodist Church will consider whether various resolutions passed by regional bodies opposed to the denomination's stance against homosexuality are in violation of church rules.
The United Methodist Judicial Council will hold a hearing next month on the resolutions passed by conferences within the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC in the 2013 annual conference session.
Homosexuality is considered "incompatible with Christian teaching" and "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" cannot be ordained, according to the UMC's Book of Discipline. The document further states that UMC clergy may not officiate same-sex unions and defines marriage as between one man and one woman. more >>
A pair of Methodists hope to change the United Methodist Church's official position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage via a grassroots campaign.
Christopher Tiedeman, an Indiana pastor and student at United Theological Seminary, and author Joel L. Watts, blogger at http://UnsettledChristianity.com, told The Christian Post about their plan to change the UMC from within.
In an email, the two told CP about their plan, which will be coordinated through a group called the Communion of Concerned United Methodists or "The Communion" for short. "Starting soon, we will begin to write letters to pastors and leaders in other areas of the world and begin the theological argument," wrote Tiedeman and Watts. "This is what Paul did. This is what the Church Fathers did. This is what Wesley did. They put pen to paper in order to individually sway one person, or a group of people, to their cause." more >>
An expert on United Methodist Church policy says that the wave of pro-gay resolutions from regional conferences will not change the mainline denomination's position on homosexuality.
John Lomperis, director of the United Methodist program at The Institute on Religion and Democracy, told The Christian Post that efforts over the summer will have little impact.
"I expect it may do a little to energize and encourage UMC activists wanting the next General Conference to disavow biblical standards for sexual self-control," said Lomperis. "But even activists writing such resolutions increasingly realize that whatever wave of momentum they may be able to generate will crash against a brick wall at the next General Conference." more >>
An economist volunteering at the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church has proposed a plan to help reverse the membership and financial decline of the denomination.
Donald R. House, who holds a Ph.D. in economics and chairs the SCJ UMC's Episcopacy Committee, released the 34-page proposal last Thursday titled "A Strategic Plan for Growth in The United Methodist Church." In an interview with The Christian Post, House explained that the plan derived from exhaustive research on church growth.
"I believe that the strategy will reverse the decline in the UMC in the U.S. My belief comes from considerable examination of almost 750,000 end-of-year reports among 32,000 local churches," said House. "I have considered pastoral leadership, demographic changes in neighborhoods surrounding local churches, and local church spending patterns in seeking to understand local church growth and decline. The strategy is based upon these considerations." more >>
A Texas bishop of the United Methodist Church has officially ruled against considering an official question over a woman barred from candidacy for ordination allegedly for being a lesbian.
Bishop James E. Dorff of the UMC San Antonio Episcopal Area ruled Tuesday that a request regarding Mary Ann Kaiser "moot" after she was barred from candidacy by the Southwest Texas Annual Conference. "My ruling is that the request, as presented, is moot and hypothetical. Therefore, the request is improper and no decision on the substance of the request will be given," said Dorff in a statement released Tuesday.
"This ruling has been forwarded to the Judicial Council of the church for review. They will either affirm this decision or return it to me for further action. The Council's next meeting is in October." more >>
An annual conference of the United Methodist Church has passed a resolution in support of same-sex marriage, even though the denomination officially deems homosexuality incompatible with Christianity.
The Ariz.-centered Desert Southwest Annual Conference of the UMC passed the resolution Sunday which expresses both support for same-sex marriage and for clergy who perform gay marriage ceremonies.
"RESOLVED that the Desert Southwest Annual Conference and the United Methodist Churches of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference make a public statement supporting and upholding Marriage Equality," reads the resolution in part. more >>