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Religion Library: Methodist

Gender and Sexuality

Written by: Ted Vial

Currently, the United Methodist Church, the largest Methodist denomination, contains the following principles in its Book of Discipline:

  1. God's grace is available to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.The Church is committed to full ministry for all people.
  2.  The United Methodist Church stands for the basic civil rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
  3. Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman, and same-sex unions will not be blessed in the Methodist Church.
  4. Self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not eligible for ordination.
  5. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.
  6. United Methodist funds may not be given to groups that promote the acceptance of homosexuality.

Some Methodists argue that decisions about the two issues of marriage and ordination ought to be left to each individual Conference, or congregation.Others argue that the Church should split, each side able to do what it thinks is required by God.For the time being, the issue comes up every four years at the General Conference, but there is little movement in any direction.

Study Questions:
     1.    How did Methodism's informal leadership benefit women?
     2.    How did gender roles influence women's role in leadership across America?
     3.    Why is there a split between the Methodist church in its affirmation/denial of the rights of homosexuals?
     4.    What does the United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline offer to the homosexuality debate? Is there possibility for change? Explain.


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