Message from Bishop Huie: Response to Supreme Court Decision
Dear United Methodists of the Texas Annual Conference,
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. This ruling is being received with joy by some United Methodist laity and clergy and with deep concern by other United Methodists. Our historic United Methodist stance on marriage defines marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman. Our Book of Discipline states, “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.” (BOD 341.6) Changes in civil law do not apply to the religious practices of the UMC.
Our United Methodist Church also declares that all persons, gay and straight, are persons of “sacred worth” and so our pastors and churches are committed to be in ministry “to and with” all persons. We are especially to advocate for equal civil rights for all persons. Same gender couples who are legally married should be respected by all of us. If they are members of our churches, they should be listed that way on our membership records. Likewise, the children of same gender couples are eligible for baptism by our pastors in our churches; baptism focuses upon the children and upon God’s grace.
I am planning a Conclave on Pastoral Responses to the Supreme Court decision in early August. We hope to feature two guest presenter pastors with different points of view on the subject of same sex marriage who live within the UMC covenant and who are committed to the unity of the church. Each would be serving in an annual conference in a state where same sex marriage has been legal for some time. They would be invited to speak to pastoral issues raised by any changes in civil law, questions that have emerged when the law in their state changed, changes they and/or their congregation might be experiencing, and how each lives in covenant with those persons and positions with whom they disagree.
I ask that you pray for our beloved United Methodist Church and to keep your heart, mind and energies focused on the mission of the church, “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Grace and peace,
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie
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