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Marriage at Myers Park

Marriage at Myers Park: A Letter to the Congregation

The following letter is signed by Dick Carter (Lay Leader); Mark Kinghorn (Administrative Board Chair 2016-17); Jim Rogers (Administrative Board Chair 2014-15); Dennis Soter (Finance Chair 2016-17); John Clarkson (Finance Chair 2013-15); Kate Maynard (Staff Parish Chair 2015-16); Fred Bright (Staff Parish Chair 2013-14); and Johanna Anderson (Board of Trustees Chair 2014-15).

Dear fellow members of Myers Park United Methodist Church,

As the current and recent chairs of our church’s governing committees, we are writing to you about an issue that we believe to be of significant importance to our entire church f amily.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision last year  recognizing the legal right of s ame gender couples to marry, many questions have arisen about s ame gender marriage for us at Myers Park Methodist, including whether our church will host s ame gender weddings and whether our clergy will perform such weddings.

In considering these questions, we are guided by our church’s mission statement: “We are the body of Christ, growing in faith and serving others.” We value the fact that Myers Park Methodist has always been a place where differences can be embraced in a manner that reflects the inherent diversity of the body of Christ. We recognize and appreciate that individuals in our church f amily hold differing beliefs, opinions and emotions about human sexuality and s ame gender marriage. We believe that through compassion and openness to each other, our church f amily can explore these questions, and any other questions, with respect, love and unity.

While The Book of Discipline, which governs the United Methodist Church, contains provisions opposing homosexuality, there is great disagreement within the denomination on this issue. The Book of Discipline also provides that our clergy have the responsibility to provide their best pastoral care for their people. This includes deciding whom they will marry. In making this decision, our clergy are guided by state law, the rules of the United Methodist Church, and individual church policies like ours, which stipulate that one must be an active member of the church to be married in our church.

As you can imagine, United Methodist ministers across the country are making individual decisions about whom to marry. Some are choosing to marry s ame gender couples, notwithstanding the denominational stance, and some are choosing not to do so.

After prayer and discussion, we affirm support for our Myers Park Methodist clergy as they make individual decisions about whom they will marry through personal prayer and discernment.

Your thoughts are important to us. We believe this is one more opportunity for us to be the Body of Christ, loving one another, honoring our differences and bearing witness to God’s love for all of us as together we continue in our collective mission to grow in faith and serve others.

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