The Methodist Church in the UK is to conduct a consultation of its members on whether to respond to the introduction next year of marriage equality, with approval for same – sex weddings in its churches.
The Methodist church could become the first major Christian denomination in Britain to conduct same-sex weddings after launching a consultation of its members about changing its official teaching.
Members of more than 5,000 congregations across mainland Britain are being asked to take part in a mass listening exercise which involves questions on changing the definition of marriage.
Churchgoers have until February to air their views before the findings are put before Methodist Conference, the church’s decision making body.
Under the terms of the Same-Sex Marriage Act, which comes into force next year, religious groups can perform gay marriage ceremonies if they actively opt-in as a group.
Although a handful of small Christian groups including the Quakers and Unitarians have made clear that they will conduct the weddings the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches are opposed.
The Church of England has just published the recommendations of its investigations, which resulted in the recommendation that ministers should be permitted (but not compelled) to conduct church blessings. The Church of Ireland is currently engaged in its own investigation. The global Catholic Church is preparing to conduct an Extraordinary Syynod on Marriage and Family, preceded by its own worldwide consultation. In the US, decisions by the ECLA and PCUSA to permit ordination of openly gay and lesbian clergy came after their own processes of extensive listening, study and consultation. Whatever the ultimate recommendations of the processes by the Methodists and Church of Ireland, one positive outcome is guaranteed: a greater understanding by all, of the issues involved.
- Methodist pastor, suspended for performing gay marriage, weighs options (latimes.com)
- Thousands of United Methodists petition bishop: end gay marriage prosecutions (pennlive.com)
- “I Will Never Be Silent Again”: Pastor Frank Schaefer to United Methodist Church Court (bilgrimage.blogspot.com)
- Vatican Asks Bishops to Consult Laity on Same-Sex Marriage, Contraception, Divorce (news.queerchurch.com)
- Bishops to Conduct Gay Weddings: Alabama, Norway. (queeringthechurch.com)
- Wow, The Vatican Is Seeking Input For The Synod On The Family. (enlightenedcatholicism-colkoch.blogspot.com)
- Recent Surveys on British Catholic Beliefs: “Discrimination Is Always Unjust and Counts More Heavily Than the Preservation of Traditional Marriage Patterns” (bilgrimage.blogspot.com)