Human Sexuality

At the annual Methodist Conference in 1993 in Derby, following long debate at all levels of the Church's life on the basis of a detailed report, the Methodist Church considered the issues of human sexuality.

What were the conclusions?

At the end of the debate, the Conference passed in the same session a series of resolutions (known as 'The 1993 Resolutions'). These resolutions are as follows

  1. The Conference, affirming the joy of human sexuality as God's gift and the place of every human being within the grace of God, recognises the responsibility that flows from this for us all. It therefore welcomes the serious, prayerful and sometimes costly consideration given to this issue by The Methodist Church. 
  2. All practices of sexuality, which are promiscuous, exploitative or demeaning in any way are unacceptable forms of behaviour and contradict God's purpose for us all. 
  3. A person shall not be debarred from church on the grounds of sexual orientation in itself. 
  4. The Conference reaffirms the traditional teaching of the Church on human sexuality; namely chastity for all outside marriage and fidelity within it. The Conference directs that this affirmation is made clear to all candidates for ministry, office and membership, and having established this, affirm that the existing procedures of our church are adequate to deal with all such cases. 
  5. The Conference resolves that its decision in this debate shall not be used to form the basis of a disciplinary charge against any person in relation to conduct alleged to have taken place before such decisions were made. 
  6. Conference recognises, affirms and celebrates the participation and ministry of lesbians and gay men in the church. Conference calls on the Methodist people to begin a pilgrimage of faith to combat repression and discrimination, to work for justice and human rights and to give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality.

But what are the Church's rules?

Conference has put before all church members (lay and ordained) the responsibility of examining their aspirations and practice in the light of these resolutions. There is no authoritative interpretation provided by the Conference of what the resolutions, taken together, add up to. There is no procedure for any group or individual to interrogate Methodist members about their adherence to these resolutions. Rather, the onus is on each member in his or her conscience to reflect on whether their behaviour fits within this cluster of resolutions.

If it's all up to the individual, where does this leave the Church?

The outcome is that, within the church, there is a diversity of interpretations and a range of understandings about intimate relationships. The Conference encourages Methodists to continue to discuss these differences in a spirit of openness and love. Our shared ambition is to combat repression and discrimination, to work for justice and human rights and to give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality.

Resources

The 1993 Resolutions were adopted by the Conference after discussion throughout the Church of the 1990 Report of the Conference Commission on Human Sexuality.

Read the full 1990 report here
Read the 2005 Conference Report on the 'Pilgrimage of Faith'

Details of the 2006 Review of the 1993 Resolutions on Human Sexuality

Details of the 2013 Consultation on same sex marriage and civil partnerships

Talking of Marriage and Relationships - 2014-2016 Resources to help the Methodist people to engage with each other honestly, prayerfully and graciously about matters relating to marriage and human relationships

Homophobia: Definition and Guidance - A resource produced by the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2015

Related documents

A Methodist Statement on a Christian understanding of family life, the single person and marriage - 1992 (Pdf)

For further information the first point of contact is your local church where the minister can discuss your questions with you.

 

The Methodist Church Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit

Information about the: journey to date, the legal context, case studies and materials for further study and personal relection can be found here.

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