Introduction

Why?

We are driven by love for the persons who are in our churches but may suspect they are not welcome, and for those in the larger LGBTQ2S+ communities who think and feel that we are against them. We want to openly acknowledge the unique challenges and pain that our teaching regarding same-sex sexuality can cause members of our own communities. We know that Jesus died and was raised for us all (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). He longs to enfold every person into the family of God and enable each one to grow in ever increasing measure into His likeness.  As followers of Jesus, we are compelled by the love of Christ.”

How did this get going?

In recent years, the conversation around the church’s relationship with people who identify as LGBTQ2S+ has been raised with leaders in regional gatherings as one of the most significant questions facing our Free Methodist churches.

As a result, in 2018, at the recommendation of the Study Commission on Doctrine, the Board of Administration of the FMCiC established an LGBTQ2S+ Ministry Equipping Team composed of pastors and lay leaders. The mandate of this team was to develop a strategic plan to equip FMCiC churches to minister effectively to people who identify as LGBTQ2S+, from within our current theological understanding of same-sex sexuality and gender identity. The team leader, Dale Harris, was doing Doctoral work on this at Northeastern Seminary during this time.

At the end of its work, the team brought to the BOA recommendations as strategic steps the FMCiC can take to equip its churches to minister to LGBTQ2S+ people more effectively. The B.O.A. took significant time to carefully and prayerfully process the report and take action.

Timeline

Our planned discussion will follow 4 Phases leading to General Conference 2024 and beyond:

Phase 1 we will attempt to Establish a Baseline by taking time to examine scripture and the position of the FMCiC around human sexuality and gender identity. Through discussion forums and the minister’s conference, we will take time to understand our stance on human sexuality and surface assumptions that we make about our own position, which may or may not be accurate.

Phase 2 we will focus on Listening and Gathering. We want this journey to be a place of mutual listening and a chance to gather people from across Canada to hear the stories and wrestle together with our fellow Free Methodists on this topic.

Phase 3 is to Sketch a Way Forward. From the listening, the team along with SCOD and BOA will take the contributions of everyone who participates into account as possibilities for the future are set out before us.

Phase 4 will be the chance to join together to Choose the Journey. From the engagement

and the sketch for the way forward, any necessary motions to the General Conference will be drafted.

DOWNLOAD TIMELINE

Mandate

This committee is here to help the conversation move forward and to plan discussion forums and communications moments. We are here to take notes, to feedback what we hear, to write reports, and to help people understand what is going on. We primarily act as planners and communicators. Eventually it will be up to us to assist in creating a series of motions, the product of the dialogues we are about to have, that will be considered by the BOA and other relevant decision making bodies, and be presented at General Conference 2023.

Resources

Committee Report

Please contact Dale Harris if you would like to read his dissertation With the Welcome of Jesus: Becoming a Community of Hospitality for LGBTQ People

Terminology

In order to communicate respectfully and effectively about issues that affect people who identify LGBTQ2S+, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of some of the terminology commonly used to describe the diversity of gender identities and sexual orientations. Here are two glossaries which are reliable.

One is from the American Psychological Association, the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States.

https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexuality-definitions.pdf

The other is the one used by the University Health Network in Toronto, the largest health research organization in North America and is primarily written for health-care professionals, but does include some terminology not included in the APA guide.

https://www.lgbtqiahealtheducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Glossary-2020.08.30.pdf

Team Members

Dale Harris, Oshawa, ON

Cathleen Getchell, Kingston, ON

Erika Mills, Clarksburg, ON

Amy Bratton, Saskatoon, SK

Louis Innocent, Repentigny, QC

Darryl Dozlaw, Saskatoon, SK

Jon Grant, Newcastle, ON

Jared Siebert, Saskatoon, SK

Josh Lyon, Kingston, ON

Grace Salaam, Winnipeg, MB

Alan Chan, Calgary AB

Doug Wightman, Dryden, ON

Have a question or want to engage with the Team? Please send us a message: