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(RNS) — Ahead of next month’s special session on sexuality intended to resolve an issue that has dogged the United Methodist Church for decades, a group of affiliated college and university presidents issued a strong call for full inclusion of LGBTQ Christians.
The group, which represents presidents of 93 United Methodist-affiliated colleges and universities, urged the denomination to amend its policies and practices to recognize the “sacred worth” of people regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Statement - Approval - Vote - Friday - Jan
The three-paragraph statement won unanimous approval in a vote taken Friday (Jan. 4) by the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church.
“We call upon the leaders of the United Methodist Church at this 2019 Called General Conference to honor the past and current practices of inclusion by amending their policies and practices to affirm full inclusion in the life and ministry of the United Methodist Church of all persons regardless of their race, ethnicity, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity/expression or sexual orientation,” the statement reads.
Schools - Students - United - States - Institutions
The 93 affiliated schools serve more than 260,000 students across the United States. They include large institutions such as American University, Boston University, Duke University and Emory University, as well as dozens of smaller schools such as Randolph College, Otterbein University and Greensboro College.
At issue is the denomination’s rulebook, the Book of Discipline, which bars “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from being ordained as ministers and forbids pastors from marrying them in the church.
Session - Feb - St - Louis - Issue
The special session called for Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis is intended to resolve once and for all an issue that has divided the United Methodist Church despite repeated attempts to resolve it going back to the 1970s.
Last year, the denomination’s Council of Bishops endorsed a plan that would allow regional decision-making bodies called annual conferences to determine whether to ordain LGBTQ clergy and allow...
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