First United Methodist Church Lawrence has been part of the Reconciling Ministries Network since 2008. Reconciling congregations are committed to policy changes that create full inclusion, which means full equality in membership, ordination, and marriage for God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children. The United Methodist Church Social Principles state: Because all people are of sacred worth and certain basic human rights are due to everyone, we are committed to supporting the equal rights, liberties, and protections of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity (p. 39).
The Social Principles do not include any condemnation of same-sex relationships or marriage. Even still, condemnation remains in the Book of Discipline 2016, which was adopted with traditional language of “incompatibility with Christian teaching,” denying membership or leadership to homosexuals, or not allowing credentialed pastors to marry same-sex couples in UMC facilities. umc.org/en/content/what-is-the-denominations-position-on-homosexuality
As a Reconciling congregation, we disagree with the exclusion of LGBTQ in the full life of our church (marriage and ordination specifically) and advocate for change in policy. The process to change the policy in the Book of Discipline was to occur at the General Conference, which was scheduled for May 5 – 15, 2020 in Minneapolis, MN. This has now been rescheduled for August 29 – September 7, 2021. This is the only Body that speaks formally for the Church. Every General Conference since 1972 has tried to wrestle with the multiple views on these issues of how to include LGBTQ people in the denomination. We hope that you are aware that 2/3 of United Methodists in the USA believe that all discriminatory language about homosexuals should be removed from the Book of Discipline.
At the beginning of this year, Bishops agreed to a moratorium on prosecutions of Church law regarding formal charges and trials against LGBTQ clergy and against clergy who perform same-gender weddings The Call for Grace petition is asking all the Bishops to agree to extend the stay of prosecutions until the next General Conference next year. If you are interested in more information or signing the petition, go to:
Believing that all people are unique and beloved children of God, Lawrence First United Methodist Church affirms that all persons, without exception, are welcome to participate fully in the life of our congregation.