29 June 2005

Methodist Church receives major report on human sexuality

The Methodist Conference has approved a major report on human sexuality. The Conference received the Pilgrimage of Faith report, the most in-depth look at human sexuality undertaken by the Church since 1993.

The Pilgrimage of Faith was launched in 1993, and is a process under which the differing views Methodists have of human sexuality can be shared and discussed in an atmosphere of respect and honesty. The Revd Jonathan Kerry, Coordinating Secretary for Worship and Learning, oversaw the production of the report, and he says, 'there is clearly still a very wide range of opinion within the Methodist Church on this issue. But thanks to the positive approach people have taken to discussing this Pilgrimage of Faith, we continue to share our views without conversations becoming arguments.'

Over 160 churches, groups and individuals responded to the call for contributions to this report. In addition, various groups with particular interests in the Church's thinking on sexuality were invited to contribute. All contributions were made confidentially.

The debate at Conference also reflected the diversity of opinion within the Church, whilst still remaining respectful and open. Jonathan Kerry says, 'this is not the end of this Pilgrimage. We will keep the process going, and revisit it at future Conferences. The evidence gathered this time makes it clear that people's views do change with time. The challenge for us as a Church is to keep discussing the small number of areas where we disagree, while celebrating and drawing strength from the many areas where we do agree. As a Church we want to be outward looking and active in doing God's work in the world, whilst still finding time honestly to discuss difficult areas like this.'

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