Thinking Anglicans

British Methodists approve same-sex marriage in church

Here is the official Methodist press release: Conference confirms resolutions on marriage and relationships

Following prayerful consideration by the whole Church, the Methodist Conference has voted to confirm provisional resolutions on the principles or qualities of good relating, understanding of cohabitation and same sex marriages conducted on Methodist premises or by Methodist office-holders.

A report on marriage and relationships, ‘God in Love Unites Us’, was received by the Conference in 2019 and the local District Synods were asked to consider the provisional resolutions and report back to this year’s Conference which is being held this week in Birmingham.  The Conference received a report on the results of the local conferring which showed that 29 out of the 30 Synods confirmed support for the provisional resolutions.

The Revd Sonia Hicks, President of the Conference, prayed ahead of the main debate on Wednesday morning in Birmingham, asking that the Conference’s “words may be imbibed with your grace, with tenderness from on high.”

A range of views were expressed on the resolutions, in particular on cohabitation and same sex marriages. The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, spoke to the Conference acknowledging the “depth of feeling, pain and anxiety that there is” with a commitment to work across the Connexion with District Chairs to heal divisions.

Speakers called for unity going ahead irrespective of the decision. Other speakers spoke of the acceptance of diversity that younger Church members have for each other with younger speakers relating their own lived experience as Christians from the LGBTQI+ community. Another representative asked that the Church does not ostracise those who oppose the introduction of same-sex marriages in the Church, saying the great majority of these people are trying to be faithful to Scripture as they see it.

The Methodist Church included other denominations and Methodist Churches across the world in the process of listening and consultation, with written submissions from ecumenical partners to the ‘God In Love Unites Us‘ report and workshops with global Methodist partners.

Following the vote on the provisional resolutions the Revd Sonia Hicks said: “The debate today and our wider conversation has been conducted with grace and mutual respect. As we move forward together after this historic day for our Church, we must remember to continue to hold each other in prayer, and to support each other respecting our differences.”

Church Times news report: Methodists agree to same-sex weddings in church

…The Conference, meeting both online and in-person at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham this week, voted 254 to 46 in favour of a resolution by which “the Conference consents in principle to the marriage of same-sex couples on Methodist premises throughout the Connexion and by Methodist ministers, probationers or members in so far as the law of the relevant jurisdiction permits or requires and subject to compliance with such further requirements, if any, as that law imposes.”

This involved redrafting the Methodist marriage canon to replace the premise that marriage is between one man and one woman. The relevant standing order now states: “The Methodist Church believes that marriage is given by God to be a particular channel of God’s grace, and that it is in accord with God’s purposes when a marriage is a life-long union in body, mind and spirit of two people who freely enter it.

“Within the Methodist Church this is understood in two ways: that marriage can only be between a man and a woman; that marriage can be between any two people. The Methodist Church affirms both understandings and makes provision in its Standing Orders for them.”

BBC Methodist Church allows same-sex marriage in ‘momentous’ vote

Guardian Methodist church to allow same-sex marriage after ‘historic’ vote

Daily Mail Methodist Church becomes biggest religious group in Britain to say yes to same-sex marriages

The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England has issued this Statement on the Methodist Conference Vote on Marriage Equality 30 June 2021

The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England rejoices in and welcomes the news that the Methodist Conference has consented in principle to the marriage of same-sex couples on Methodist premises and by Methodist ministers. The resolution was passed by a very large majority (254 to 46) after a long and impressive debate marked by a generous and kind spirit from both those in favour and those opposing the motion.

This means that the Methodist Church of Great Britain, which covers all of Scotland, Wales and England, will become the largest UK denomination that fully accepts marriage equality and will welcome LGBTQIA+ couples to marry in their churches.

The decision was taken, after many years of discussion and debate, on the basis of the Report of the Marriage and Relationships Task Group 2019, God in Love Unites Us, which was discussed extensively at the 2019 Methodist Conference and commended for study and prayerful discussion throughout the Church through 2020.

The Campaign congratulates Dignity and Worth – our sister organisation in the Methodist Church – for their tireless work for this outcome.

We call upon the bishops of the Next Steps Group to ensure that proposals for marriage equality in the Church of England form part of their report in due course.

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Fr. Dean
Fr. Dean
2 years ago

Well done the Methodists and by a thumping majority. It will increase pressure on our Archbishops and make for some interesting ecumenical discussions.

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
2 years ago

Interesting to see that the Irish Methodist Church quickly moved to say that whatever may be the case in the Methodist Church in Britain doesn’t apply in Northern Ireland.

They clearly don’t want to upset the Unionist-supporting hardline Protestants north of the border (or their cheque books!); and, as with much that happens in Northern Ireland, they want to celebrate their British identity – but not when it means greater equality.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
2 years ago

I understand that there had been a similar distancing of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland and the Scottish Presbyterian Church.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Simon Bravery
2 years ago

The Presbyterian Church of Ireland has distanced itself from the Church of Scotland. The Irish Methodists on the other hand have, so far at least, merely pointed out that they are a separate body from the Methodists in Great Britain and the decision does not apply to Northern Ireland. This is contrary to some sloppy press reports referring to UK or Britain or the Methodist church, rather than the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

The Methodist statement is clear that discussions on the Irish Methodist position are ongoing.

2 years ago

I have left the Methodist church recently for a variety of reasons. I don’t agree with gay marriage while acknowledging that some people are attracted to the opposite sex . Blessings by all means but not marriage. I am not homophobic and have a gay member of my family. Interesting to see if the Methodist church survives when it is mainly made up of the older age group.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Diana
2 years ago

The general membership were not consulted prior to the decision and the church I belonged to has been Co opted in by the minister causing a rift and many long standing older members leaving membership along with my self, I have no objection to gay people but strongly disagree with same sex marriage in church

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