Every 4 years the global United Methodist Church (UMC) gathers with Methodist representatives from all over the world to discuss and vote on resolutions that may amend existing church law. The United Methodist Church (UMC) law book is the Book of Discipline, and it is re-published after every General Conference, the most recent being in 2012.
The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline contains language that is harmful to LGBTQ people (and their friends and family). It is used to support policy and practice that bars LGBTQ members from ordination and from marriage (even in states were same-gender marriage is legal). In addition, some United Methodist Churches ask queer members to leave, and currently there is no United Methodist Church law to protect membership status.
It is very important to create a safe space for all people, especially for our LGBTQ visitors and members. The harmful language in the Book of Discipline that states: “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” was penned by delegates from the Southwest Texas conference (which now geographically includes Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi) over 40 years ago. Many Texas United Methodists feel an especially strong calling to right this wrong. Some of us are part of families that have been Methodist for generations, going back to the circuit rider days. Some of us come from other denominations, drawn to Methodism because of the theology and the Weslyan Quadrilateral. Some of us are new church-goers and passionate worshippers. All of us want to help grow our churches into a loving reflection of God’s inclusive love.
The next United Methodist Church GENERAL CONFERENCE will be held in PORTLAND, OREGON in 2016. We will travel to Portland to speak up for equality in 2016, and we will continue to work to create safe spaces in our home churches as well.