How long can it be before the UMC follows the United Church, the Episcopal church, the ECLA, the PCUSA, the European Lutherans and the Church of Scotland, and removes the barriers to ordination for openly gay and lesbian pastors?
It cannot be before the summer of 2012, when an enabling resolution will be presented to the general assembly – just as it has been every two years, without success. This time, pressure is already building, to make next year different. Some months back, a group of 33 retired bishops called on the UMC to change its regulations. This week, a local assembly approved such a resolution. This cannot take effect unless and until the same thing happens at national level – but it will add to the momentum for change. The outcome has suprised and delighted the proponents, who were aiming for a much more modest outcome, simply to get a conversation started.
The Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church narrowly approved a groundbreaking same-sex marriage resolution Saturday, setting the stage for a high-stakes vote on the matter at the national conference next year.
The resolution, passed at the church’s annual local conference, would amend the church’s Book of Discipline to allow pastors to perform same-sex marriages and ceremonies in member churches in jurisdictions where legislatures already have approved gay marriage laws, such as the District.
The outcome surprised and delighted members of Washington’s Foundry United Methodist, which developed the resolution but did not expect it to be approved, said Rev. Dean Snyder. Of Foundry’s 1,300 members, roughly one-fourth to one-third are openly homosexual, Sndyer said.
“We presented the resolution as an occasion to have a conversation. Frankly, I didn’t think it would pass,” Snyder said. “This is very exciting, very moving.”
full report at The Washington Post.
Related articles at QTC:
- Gay Clergy: Presbyterian Ratification a Tipping Point for LGBT Inclusion in Church
- Methodist Church Billboard: “Being Gay is a Gift from God”