May 9, 2016
STATEMENT FROM THE WEST OHIO CONFERENCE
The West Ohio Conference is aware that a service of worship took place at one of our churches Saturday celebrating the marriage of a United Methodist pastor to his same-sex partner. We know that this event has and will spark a wide range of reactions and responses.
Homosexuality and same-sex unions are controversial topics for the church and for society at large. Diversity of opinion often points the way to conversations that we need to have. Over the next two weeks (May 10-20) in Portland, Oregon, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body, the General Conference, will meet as it does every four years to review church doctrine, decide economic issues and discuss the church's position on social and public policy. Human sexuality will be one of many issues discussed, debated and prayed over by the delegates.
The United Methodist Book of Discipline, our book of covenant and agreed upon pattern for our common life, states that marriage is “between a man and a woman” and does not allow for holding celebrations of same-sex unions in our churches or led by our pastors. The commitment to Christian life as a United Methodist clergy or lay person is a sacred trust. With this trust comes accountability, with accountability comes process. The United Methodist Church has clearly established processes for addressing those times when it is believed that there has been a breach of trust or violation of our covenant. As United Methodists we uphold (support) the church and each other in mission, action and conversation even as we “exercise” the discipline of the church.
All persons are beloved to God and of sacred worth. All may attend our worship services, participate in our programs, receive the sacraments and become members of any local United Methodist church. In areas of disagreement we believe our Christian response must be to pray and work together for justice, reconciliation and healing, while keeping our eyes focused on our primary mission - making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The West Ohio Conference is the central office for nearly 170,000 United Methodists, 1600 clergy, 8 district offices and 1100 churches in 58 counties of Ohio. The Episcopal leader of the Ohio West Area of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, provides oversight.
West Ohio Conference Communications
lstreight [at] wocumc.org