CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Leaders of the United Methodist Church could soon take an official stance on human sexuality issues like same-sex marriage.
The topic of same-sex marriage has been debated within the United Methodist Church since 1972, however, elected church delegates plan to meet to decide where they stand on the issue at a special general conference this weekend.
The United Methodist Church does not currently condone homosexuality and same-sex marriages.
Kyle Randle, a pastor at First United Methodist Church in Conway, believes it is healthy for the church to discuss the topic.
“I believe it’s important because it’s a part of our society and it’s a part of our culture, and as same-sex marriage continues to be more recognized and accepted in our society, then it’s an issue that affects the Church and Church members,” Randle said.
Randle says members are not as split on the issue as it may appear.
“The unique part about United Methodism is that we are not all bound to the same belief, in matters of social justice and social issues,” Randle said.
A special commission formed by the United Methodist Church came up with three different approaches the Church could take regarding human sexuality.
The first option called the Traditionalist Plan would keep the current stance in addition to forbidding conduction same-sex marriages in the Church.
The second option called the One Church Plan would allow individual clergy to decide on whether to marry same-sex couples.
The third option called the Connectional Conference Plan would allow for a combination of the two, divided into different geographical groups.
Randle says the conference could lead to a completely different outcome or no change at all.
His main concern is to not get distracted by the issues but to focus on the mission of the Church.
“The Church doesn’t ask that you sign on the dotted line; that you agree or you don’t agree. The Church simply asks that you prayerfully consider why we as Christians may make a statement one way or the other in relation to those topics,” Randle said.
To stay updated on the results of the Special General Conference, click here.