Gary Church, United Methodism, and Human Sexuality

The resources below are intended to help the Gary Church congregation process the work of the Special Session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, held February 23–26 in St. Louis, Missouri, and the subsequent Judicial Council ruling, as well as to provide tools needed to evaluate news sources.During this challenging time, we at Gary Church draw on our values that are rooted in God’s unconditional love and our desire to love God and love our neighbor. Grounded in scripture yet willing to ask questions and wrestle with difficult issues, we continue in the tradition of living out our faith by sharing Christ’s love in the world and believe that those core values are reflected in our mission statement:

  • Grow in faith, knowledge, and understanding of Christ as Lord and Savior
  • Serve our community and the world by sharing time, gifts, talents
  • Nurture one another through worship, fellowship, love
  • Demonstrate our discipleship to Christ
  • Proclaim God's grace and good news 

The purpose of the Special Session of the General Conference was to receive and act on the reports from the “Commission on a Way Forward” that examined paragraphs in the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explored options to strengthen the unity of the church. By a vote of 438–384 General Conference approved what is known as the Traditional Plan. 

On April 23–26 in Evanston, IL, the Judicial Council, the nine-member top court of the UMC, met to rule on the constitutionality of all legislation passed during the Special Session except the pension matters. The court found that while some provisions of the newly adopted Traditional Plan remain unconstitutional, the rest of the plan is valid as church law. 


Letters from Leadership

The following letters were offered in response to the Judicial Ruling on April 23, 2019 from our local (Gary Church), regional (Northern Illinois Annual Conference), and denominational (Council of Bishops) leadership.   

Letter from Pastor Chris Pierson

Bishop Sally Dyck's response to the Judicial Council Ruling

Council of Bishops 


What's happening next?

This is a challenging time for The United Methodist Church with much to be determined about the future of the denomination after the General Conference vote around human sexuality. At both the General and Annual Conference levels, legislation is being proposed to investigate a shift in the denominational structure, which could result in a new form of Methodism. This ongoing, deliberate process requires much prayer and discernment. Gary Church’s Task force on United Methodism and Human Sexuality is committed to providing the congregation with information, discussion forums, educational opportunities, and resources that allow for transparency and reflection in this time of flux.

Gary Church: We will continue to offer opportunities for grace-filled conversation and learning that honor our values “rooted in God’s unconditional love and our desire to love God and love our neighbor.”

  • Watch for information on Adult Education offerings this fall.
  • Invite a task force member to meet with your Gary Church group to answer questions and facilitate conversation. Requests can be made through the Church Office.

Northern Illinois Conference: Northern Illinois Conference: Much of the legislation that passed at the 2019 Northern Illinois Annual Conference, held June 3-4, reflected disapproval of the Traditional Plan adopted at February's General Conference Special Session. Click here for the full report.

Council of Bishops:Faced with the fallout of a divisive General Conference, United Methodist bishops said they would join other church members in exploring new possibilities for the denomination’s future” (umnews.org). See the full article here.

Submit Petitions for GC2020:
Petitions for consideration by the 2020 General Conference may be submitted to the Petitions Secretary now through September 18. According to the Book of Discipline, "Any organization, clergy member, or lay member of The United Methodist Church may petition the General Conference..." Detailed instructions for submitting a petition are available on the General Conference website at umc.org/gcpetition.


Apportionment FAQs

In response to changes in the billing structure of apportionments and a vote at the 2019 Northern Illinois Annual Conference in June to withhold payments to the General Administration Fund, the NIC finance team has put together a list of frequently asked questions.  

To find the FAQs, visit www.umcnic.org/apportionmentfaq or print this downloadable pdf. For a description of all the apportioned funds, click here. 

For more helpful resources, UMC Giving has put together a new Generosity Pastor and Leaders' Kit that includes talking points about The United Methodist Church connection and the impact giving makes in the lives of individuals around the world. Click herefor bulletin inserts, sermon starters, slides, social media posts, and much more. These resources are helpful throughout the year and especially in the fall when stewardship campaigns kick off


What resources are available if I want to learn more?

We understand that Gary is a “big tent” church, comprised of people with a range of beliefs and viewpoints, and will work to present diverse resources for the congregation’s continued learning and reflection.

The following websites provide sources for continued updates and offer examples of the diverse views on United Methodism and human sexuality and the future of the denomination.

The United Methodist Church 

The United Methodist News 

Uniting Methodists   

Love Your Neighbor Coalition 

Main Stream UMC  

United Methodists for the Way Forward

Reconciling Ministries Network 

Wesleyan Covenant Association 

Good News Magazine 


Additional Resources:

Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views by Robert A. J. Gagnon and Dan O. Via

Holy Love: A Biblical Theology for Human Sexuality by Steve Harper 

Quick and Easy Guide to United Methodist Polity by Anne L. Burkholder and Thomas W Elliott

Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality Study: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry 

Additional resources are available at cokesbury.com (a United Methodist publishing house). 

 

© 2019 Gary United Methodist Church   |   224 North Main Street, Wheaton, IL US 60187