Methodist Church receives major report on human sexuality

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

The Pilgrimage of Faith was launched in 1993, and is a processunder which the differing views Methodists have of human sexualitycan be shared and discussed in an atmosphere of respect andhonesty. The Revd Jonathan Kerry, Coordinating Secretary forWorship and Learning, oversaw the production of the report, and hesays, 'there is clearly still a very wide range of opinion withinthe Methodist Church on this issue. But thanks to the positiveapproach people have taken to discussing this Pilgrimage of Faith,we continue to share our views without conversations becomingarguments.'

Over 160 churches, groups and individuals responded to the call forcontributions to this report. In addition, various groups withparticular interests in the Church's thinking on sexuality wereinvited to contribute. All contributions were madeconfidentially.

The debate at Conference also reflected the diversity of opinionwithin the Church, whilst still remaining respectful and open.Jonathan Kerry says, 'this is not the end of this Pilgrimage. Wewill keep the process going, and revisit it at future Conferences.The evidence gathered this time makes it clear that people's viewsdo change with time. The challenge for us as a Church is to keepdiscussing the small number of areas where we disagree, whilecelebrating and drawing strength from the many areas where we doagree. As a Church we want to be outward looking and active indoing God's work in the world, whilst still finding time honestlyto discuss difficult areas like this.'