This denomination has been wrestling with the matter of human sexuality since 1972. The restrictive language was written into our Book of Discipline at that time, and we have been dealing with the ramifications and repercussions ever since. Men and women of deep faith and good intention have debated and conferenced about this on both sides of the theological aisle and have sought to bring into manifestation the scriptural and
No matter what one decides in these cases, there will be those who feel they have won, and those who feel they have lost. As far as I am concerned, there are no winners here today. We all lose when we cannot reach
I believe the United Methodist Book of Discipline is wrong when it states that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. I believe that all persons are of sacred worth, and all persons who genuinely love another in a healthy, respectful showing of mutual care and affection are living out who God has created them to be. I do not believe persons choose to love same-gender partners; rather, I believe God has created them with the gift of love, just as God has created persons who love those of the opposite sex with the gift of love. I pray that in 2019, we move away from the restrictive language in our Book of Discipline, and allow for all to really find a full and complete home within the United Methodist Church.
I also believe that the Book of Discipline, written by human beings and therefore fallible and subject to the error of human intellect and understanding, has at times legislated discrimination, bias, and inequality. Failure to ordain women and accept them in the full life of the church, and the creation of the Central Jurisdiction, are just two additional examples. And yet, it is the book upon which we order our work together, and live in covenant with one another. I have not and do not take it lightly. It has guided my work as an
I have encountered those who state that they simply want to follow the Book of Discipline, they disparage those who won’t follow it, and criticize leaders who stray from it. And yet, when you ask them what they will do when the Book of Discipline changes, they state emphatically that they will leave. So, for
We are on the verge of perhaps just the change many have prayed for and worked towards. The Commission on A Way Forward has worked diligently, and the Council of Bishops has received their report, held sessions of holy conferencing, and labored to listen to one another, and the will of God. A plan will be presented to the Special Session of General Conference that allows us to remove the restrictive language, and pave the way for all persons to serve and be married within this great denomination, regardless of sexual orientation. That opportunity is just nine months away. I will not upend that process to impose what I believe the right and just outcome to be.
In my decision today, I cast no dispersions upon those who have decided differently than
Therefore, in good conscience and against what I believe to be an error in our Book of Discipline, I will not violate its current law. I reserve the right to reach a different conclusion if the circumstances change in the future. To those who feel harmed and violated by my decision, I offer my deep and sincere
Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling