The Commission on a Way Forward made its report that contains three proposed options for a way for the church to resolve its conflict:
The One Church Plan:
- Affirms sexual relations only within the covenant of monogamous marriage between two adults (thereby permitting same-sex marriage)
- Declares we are not of one mind regarding human sexuality and permits persons in the church to interpret and decide issues of human sexuality differently
- Permits pastors to bless monogamous homosexual marriages anywhere secular law permits such marriages
- Removes restrictive language from the Book of Discipline that prohibits same-gender weddings at UMC properties and ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals”
- Does not require churches or conferences to accept such practices and contains language to protect consciences of pastors and congregations
The Connectional Conference Plan:
- Replaces current five U.S. jurisdictional conferences with three connectional conferences based on affinity on issues related to the definition of marriage and ordination standards – Progressive, Unity, and Traditional
- All three would use a general Book of Discipline (Articles of Religion, General Rules, Confession of Faith) with the ability to adapt other portions to their context of ministry
- Provides space for different practices and beliefs by the different connectional conferences
- Central conferences could choose to be own connectional conference or join a U.S. one
- Requires numerous Constitutional Amendments
The Modified Traditional Plan:
- Retains the church’s current position on the practice of homosexuality
- Enhances accountability
- Provides a gracious exit path for annual conferences, local churches, and clergy who cannot abide by the requirements of the Book of Discipline into a new self-governing Methodist church
Read the full Commission on a Way Forward report HERE
The above link also contains all the preliminary information about the upcoming General Conference. There are 48 petitions that relate to the three plans of the Commission, and 51 additional petitions have been submitted by other individuals and churches with alternative proposals. They can all be found at the link above.
Click HERE for a chart that compares the three main plans in their impact on various aspects of the church.
Click HERE for a chart that compares the three plans in their impact on the central conferences outside the United States.
Click HERE for access to the above two charts in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, and Swahili.
Click HERE for a list of which of the submitted petitions have been declared “in harmony” with the purpose of the special General Conference and which petitions will not be considered because they are “not in harmony” with that purpose.