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.
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.