Discerning Greater New Jersey's hopes for the future of The United Methodist Church

On March 4, over 100 clergy and laity throughout GNJ came together at the Mission and Resource Center to discuss the following questions and consider the seven options below to develop our hopes and aspirations for the future of the United Methodist Church to send to the Commission on the Way Forward put in place by the Council of Bishops, as directed by the 2016 General Conference Session.

  • In our diverse and global existence, what is the shared mission/purpose of the Church?
  • Is there a proactive way for us to live together in our differences that doesn’t presume that we will resolve our differences? What would it be?
  • What might be a form of unity that would empower us living together?
  • What is our witness and what can be our witness to the world in relation to our differences?

The following are suggestions made by different people and groups who seek a solution for the current impasse regarding The United Methodist Church and homosexuality.

  1. We continue as we are, no change to The Book of Discipline. If we chose this option, what would you need to participate in the life of the church?
  2. We change The Book of Discipline to allow gays and lesbians to be ordained and to permit same gender weddings. If we chose this option, what would you need to participate in the life of the church?
  3. The annual conference determines who is fit and ready for ordination and whether to allow clergy to perform same gender weddings. If we chose this option, what would you need to participate in the life of the church?
  4. Local congregations decide whether they will accept an openly gay or lesbian pastor and whether their pastor celebrates same gender weddings. If we chose this option, what would you need to participate in the life of the church?
  5. The church has authority on these matters by geographic region (we are organized into regions by the Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States). If we chose this option, what would you need to participate in the life of the church?
  6. We divide into separate denominations based on gay and lesbian ordination and same gender marriage. If we chose this option, what would you need to participate in the life of the church?
  7. Other suggested ideas.

Graceful Controversies Resources:

Suggested Reading:

Wonder, Love and Praise: Sharing a Vision of the Church by the The United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order
Be Strong and of Good Courage by Gil Rendle of the Texas Methodist Foundation

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