Methodists consider allowing same-sex weddings to take place in UK churches
Methodists in Britain are considering allowing same-sex marriages to take place in the denomination’s churches.
The Methodist Conference, which sets the policies for the denomination in Britain, has agreed to “revisit” its stance on same-sex marriage.
The Church in the UK so far only defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Its commitment to revisit the issue does not hold any guarantee that it will change the definition.
But it could lead to same-sex weddings taking place in Methodist churches after its annual conference took place yesterday.
The vote came after a report from a task group on ‘Marriage and Relationships’, which was commissioned in 2014.
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The report asked opinions and discussions of 8,000 church members and looked into issues faced by LGBT people in the church including trans and intersex people.
The previous official stance on marriage was agreed back in 1992.
Speaking at yesterday’s gathering were people who drew on personal experiences.
One described his church as his “second family”, but despite having come out to friends a family, he could not come out to fellow church-goers.
A new task group has been appointed to carry out the work, and it could take up to two years.
Task group chair Rev Graham Carter said: “It is essential to take time over this issue because the process of finding a way forward is as important as reaching a decision. Enabling people in the church to talk openly about their differing convictions and value their common commitment to Jesus Christ is key to what it means to be a Christian community.
“The decision of the Conference to establish a working party on the matters of marriage and relationships is an important step which comes from a widespread conversation in which people have listened, respected each other’s position and engaged in deep reflection together. The conversations will continue and we will go on responding to the challenges of interpreting God’s love for today’s society.”
In the US, the United Methodist Church earlier this year delayed a final decision on its LGBT policies – amid fears of a rift.