One of the questions I received on Question and Answer Sunday was: “is the [United] Methodist Church going to change its stance on same-sex marriages?” The best answer I can give is to simply admit that I don’t know. In fact, I don’t think anyone really knows. That’s the short answer. If you want a longer answer, feel free to keep reading.
The representative body that has the final say in the church’s stance on same-sex marriages is called General Conference. (In fact, General Conference is the only body that can officially speak for the whole church on any issue.) Every church has at least one representative to annual conference and annual conferences elect representatives to General Conference. While each annual conference meets every year, General Conference meets only once every four years. General Conference last met in 2012 and narrowly voted to uphold the church’s current stances regarding homosexuality. Since then both sides have been busy maneuvering. General Conference won’t meet again until 2016 and although there is a lot of speculation from all sides, I don’t think anyone can accurately predict what will happen.
I don’t know if the person asking this question wanted the church’s position to be changed or not. I do know that Abilene First United Methodist Church has people on both sides of this issue. My hope for our local congregation and the denomination as a whole is that we can remain united. I firmly believe that the people on both sides of this debate need one another in order to truly function as Christ’s church.
There were several other questions concerning the church’s stance on homosexuality on other cards. My current plan is to try to address the other questions in a sermon.