The United Methodist Church (UMC) was created in 1968. Every 4 years since,
there has been a meeting of the only body that can speak for the church,
General Conference (GC). The topic of how we, as a denomination, are in
ministry with persons who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT)
has been a topic of every GC since 1972, including a special GC in 2019.
Some of the highlights of GC decisions include the following: In 1972 the
words, “We do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider it
incompatible with Christian teaching,” were added to the phrase “persons of
homosexual orientation are persons of sacred worth.” In 1984 GC added that
persons who are LGBT shall not be clergy candidates or appointed as clergy in
the UMC. In 1992 GC declared that ceremonies to celebrate homosexual
unions shall not be conducted by United Methodist clergy or in United
Methodist churches. In 2019 GC added a minimum penalty for clergy found
guilty of performing a same-sex wedding - one year’s suspension without pay
for the first offense and loss of credentials for the second.
A more thorough review of these developments can be found here.
Since GC 2019 several proposals have been submitted for consideration at
GC 2020, to be held May 5 - 15. While we will not know what the future of the
UMC is until after GC 2020 it does look like there is a strong possibility the
UMC will be changing, likely with at least some churches/persons forming a
new denomination, or denominations. With that statement, please breathe --
take a moment and breathe. We know nothing yet, and will not until at least
You may remember we at Marble Memorial UMC had 'conversations' last fall.
Those were to prepare us to talk with each other in a respectful, calm manner.
This, and other topics, are very important to many people so we spent time
looking at how.
We are in the process of setting up further meetings about this specific topic
where we will explore what we think, what others think and why, especially
looking at how the Bible addresses this topic and how it affects people. These
dates have not been firmed up yet but will likely begin in April. Watch for
specific meeting days and times. I believe this will be time well spent for any
decision we as individuals and as a congregation may need to make following
I encourage you to keep up with developments regarding the UMC from our
Michigan Annual Conference at Michiganumc.org where you can sign up for
weekly emails about denominational news and mission. You also may want to
go to www.umnews.org/en to sign up for a daily United Methodist News
service email. We also provide hard copies of the monthly Michigan
Conference magazine. You may want to schedule a time to talk with me about
this, or another topic. You can e-mail me at email@example.com or call the
church office, 734-439-2421, to set up an appointment.
Please be in prayer for those of the LGBTQ community, who these discussions and
decisions directly impact, our denomination and leaders, here at Marble Memorial
UMC and around the world.
Also, let us remember and always be living into our denomination mission of
'making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world' and our
church vision of "Inviting people, living the love of Christ." May we be
prepared to address this very important issue while we continue in our entire
See you Sunday! - Pastor Jackie Roe