On Friday, June 26, the Supreme Court ruled that the U. S. Constitution supports the right of same-sex marriage. The 5-4 decision immediately became the law of the land, Within hours of the announcement, judges performed weddings for same-sex couples in Gwinnett County.
What does this mean for the United Methodist Church?
The Supreme Court ruling does not change the language or policies of the United Methodist Church. The Book of Discipline currently prohibits Methodist clergy from officiating at same-sex weddings. Pastors who do so can lose their ministerial credentials.
The General Conference which meets every four years is the only body in Methodism that can change The Book of Discipline. Delegates will meet next May in Portland, Oregon for the 2016 General Conference. Due to political dynamics within the church, I personally believe that any change in our current stance is unlikely next year.
What does this mean for the First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville?
Our congregation mirrors the denomination and nation, encompassing the spectrum of societal, political, and theological perspectives. Our church family includes conservatives and liberals, traditionalists and progressives, singles and couples, traditional and non-traditional families.
Like any dysfunctional family, we struggle to live together; and we cannot understand why the other person doesn’t see things MY way . . . which is naturally the RIGHT way. But we remain family—children of the same heavenly Father which means that we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
What this means for the First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville is:
- We will continue to graciously welcome everyone into our family, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, country of origin, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation.
- We will continue to claim that the Holy Spirit who binds us together is greater than anything that might tear us apart.
- We will continue to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
- We will continue to keep the main thing the main thing: making disciples of Jesus Christ.
In his sermon, A Catholic Spirit, John Wesley discussed the goal of Christian unity. Echoing 2 Kings 10:15, Wesley declared: “Give me your hand!” Give me your hand—not so we can agree, not so we can be the same, not so we can cease debate—give me your hand so we can reach the world in the name of Jesus Christ.