The Methodist Church is considering marriage and relationships and asking whether the current position of the church should be revised.
The current timetable:
The 2018 Conference received the report of the Marriage and Relationships Task Group and decided that the task group should produce a report for the 2019 Conference, setting out several key theological arguments for the understanding of relationships and marriage with recommendations.
The 2019 report will be referred to Synods for consultation and the 2020 Conference will make a final decision as to any provision for change as required by the report.
In the meantime, we are asked to hold conversations to talk about these issues in our churches, circuits and districts. These conversations include discussion about same-sex marriage but are not limited to that one issue. There is much more to consider, one example is our position on cohabitation especially as there are so many people who live together in long-term significant relationships without being married.
It is important to note the change in the law in 2014 which enabled same-sex civil marriage also gave churches and other religious groups the legal ability to opt-in to conduct weddings for same-sex partners if they so wished. The Methodist Church has not, as yet, opted-in.
These current discussions are on-going and involve much prayer, reflection, discernment and conversation.
It is likely that some will hold contradictory convictions and it is essential in our conversations that we are gracious and respectful of one another as we talk and reflect together.
We would like to invite you to a facilitated conversation on these issues on one of two dates in our circuit. The conversations will be led by Revd. Helen Hollands and Revd. Miriam Moul from the Canterbury and East Kent circuit. All are welcome.
Our conversation will include:
- A short history of marriage and relationships in the Methodist Church
- Current issues and discussion about any potential changes
- An opportunity to ask questions
These conversations are also open to people from the Canterbury and East Kent circuit.