same-sex marriage

Image via Emily McFarlan Miller / RNS

At its quadrennial meeting last month, the United Methodist Church decided not to take up contentious LGBT issues. But that’s not stopping its regional conferences from making decisions on their own.

Two U.S. jurisdictions will consider three openly gay candidates for bishop next month.

Image via REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/RNS

The Scottish Episcopal Church may become the first major church in the United Kingdom to allow its clergy to conduct same-sex weddings in churches.

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, meeting in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, passed on first reading a change to its canon law definition of marriage June 10.

Rich Preheim 6-09-2016

The Rev. Isaac Villegas officiates at a wedding. Image via Dan Scheirer / RNS

A year ago, the Mennonite Church USA was one of many Christian groups struggling with dissension over the place of gays and lesbians in the church. Today, it’s not just struggling, but falling apart.

The divisions reached the highest level of leadership after a member of the denomination’s Executive Board resigned last month after officiating at the wedding of two lesbians, a violation of church rules.

Tara "T.C." Morrow. Image via Steven D. Martin / RNS

Tara “T.C.” Morrow did not receive the two-thirds vote needed for approval, reported the UMConnection, the conference’s newspaper. The conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry had recommended that Morrow be commissioned as a provisional deacon. Deacons in the United Methodist Church are ordained clergy.

Meghan Florian 6-01-2016

Image via REUTERS/Bruno Domingos/RNS

The Virginia Mennonite Conference suspended a pastor’s ministerial credentials May 25 because he officiated at a same-sex wedding.

The Rev. Isaac Villegas of the Chapel Hill (N.C.) Mennonite Fellowship and my pastor, is “at variance” with the conference, which belongs to the Mennonite Church USA. The denomination, with some 100,000 members, holds that marriage is “a covenant between one man and one woman for life.”

Image via Mike DuBose / UMNS / RNS

While many evangelical church bodies have reiterated their “no” to homosexuality — and most mainline Protestant traditions have said “yes” — the United Methodist Church, which concluded its quadrennial meeting last week, remains as divided and muddled as ever.

Image via Emily McFarlan Miller / RNS

The debate — over how to debate the rules — became so convoluted that at one point Missouri delegate Margie Briggs called for prayer and said:

“I believe we are confusing God at this point.”

Archbishop-elect Jackson Nasoore Ole Sapit. Image via Fredrick Nzwili / RNS

Bishop Jackson Nasoore Ole Sapit, a traditionalist who nonetheless steered clear of gay issues, has been elected the new archbishop of Kenya.

Ole Sapit, 52, who headed Kericho Diocese in western Kenya, will replace outgoing Archbishop Eliud Wabukala and also serve as bishop of All Saints Cathedral, the national seat of the Anglican Church.

Image via Emily McFarlan Miller / RNS

Amid protest, song, and fears of a denominational breakup, United Methodists at their quadrennial General Conference decided yet again not to decide anything regarding LGBT rights.

But in a groundbreaking move, the delegates from the U.S. and abroad voted 428-405 on May 18 to allow the church’s Council of Bishops to appoint a commission to discuss whether to accept same-sex marriage or ordain LGBT clergy.

Bishop Elaine Stanovksy (left) receives Communion from activists Sue Laurie (right) and Julie Bruno. Image via Mike DuBose / UMNS / RNS

Delegates to the United Methodist Church General Conference shot down a strategy that would have allowed them to discuss contentious legislation in small groups.

Portland, Ore. Image via REUTERS/Richard Clement/RNS

The United Methodist Church General Conference convenes once every four years to make policy decisions and set the direction for the denomination.

Beginning May 10, 864 delegates, half of them clergy, will converge on the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for 10 days for the General Conference. More than 40 percent of those delegates will come from outside the U.S.

Calling for an overhaul in the way Catholics approach family issues, Pope Francis issued an apostolic exhortation that maintains core church teachings on divorce and sexuality.

But stressing the need for “a healthy dose of self-criticism,” Francis used the document to outline his views on how the church should respond to modern-day realities of family life, going so far as to encourage husbands to do more household chores and parents to put down their mobile phones.

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer. Image via Sally Morrow/RNS

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer said she was “called by God to be open and honest” about who she is. So, during her first sermon of 2016, Meyer broke the news: She loves another woman.

“I’ve been praying, and in a process of discernment for some time, particularly over the past few years, once I entered into a relationship,” said Meyer, pastor of Edgerton United Methodist Church.

Most Americans oppose religious exemptions to LGBT non-discrimination laws, according to a new survey. The report comes as a raft of bills before state legislatures would allow people to refuse service or accommodations to gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people based on their religious beliefs.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Image via Jerome Socolovsky/RNS

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is describing the recent censure of his church over allowing clergy to perform same-sex marriages as a “fair” move by the wider Anglican Communion. Anglican primates voted last month in Canterbury, England, to remove the Episcopal Church from votes on doctrine and to ban it from representing the communion in ambassadorial relationships for three years.

Ryan Hammill 1-21-2016

Archbishop Justin Welby. Image via Mobilising Faith Communities in Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict/Wikimedia Commons

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the “first-among-equals” leader of the world’s Anglican churches, has published his reflection on the 2016 Primates MeetingThe Jan. 11-15 meeting of the leaders, or primates, of the Anglican Communion ended with a three-year suspension of The Episcopal Church’s right to represent the Anglican Communion on interfaith or ecumenical bodies and vote on doctrine and polity because of The Episcopal Church’s unilateral decision to recognize same-sex marriage.

As a black, same-gender loving woman, who is a pastor, Bishop and activist, I can solidly say that my wife, children, grandchildren, and community have stronger allies, greater opportunities, and more protections than we have ever had. This is in many ways attributable to a growing number of black clergy who are no longer willing to stand idly by and watch large segments of the communities they were called to serve alienated, stripped of rights, physically abused, and treated unjustly. They have taken the costly stand against the notion that LGBTQ people are unworthy of God’s love and full acceptance within the church.

the Web Editors 1-14-2016

Canterbury Cathedral. Image via /Shutterstock.com

A meeting at Canterbury of the leaders, or primates, of the various churches that comprise the Anglican Communion have announced that they are imposing a three-year discipline on The Episcopal Church.

Betsy Shirley 1-11-2016
Gay Christian Network founder Justin Lee

Gay Christian Network founder Justin Lee.

Less than 10 weeks after Houston voters — many persuaded by local Christian pastors — repealed a city ordinance that would have protected Houstonians from discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity (as well as race, religion, and other traits), 1,450 people gathered in the city for the Gay Christian Network conference, the world’s largest annual event for LGBT Christians and their allies.

Image via Jim Urquhart / REUTERS / RNS

Gay marriage is now the law of the land and, increasingly, a line in the sand conservative churches say they will not cross.

The latest is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Nov. 5, it issued new guidelines, saying Mormons in same-sex relationships will face possible excommunication and their children will not be permitted to join the church until they are 18 — and then only if they reject their parents’ relationship.

The new policies make the LDS church, with about 15 million members globally, the largest Christian denomination to enact such a formal — and some say draconian — policy. Children of same-sex couples are effectively denied baptism and other ordinances of the church.

“I am sure everyone feels regret about this,” said D. Michael Quinn, a scholar who was excommunicated by the LDS church in 1993 but still considers himself a Mormon.

“The leaders who have instituted this have done so without any relish. They have done so with regret. All Mormons down the line will look at it as regrettable.”

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