After an email was sent to faculty from the president's office on Jan. 14 regarding issues with sexuality statements from the United Methodist Church, OUSG held a meeting on Jan. 17 to discuss the issue further. The campus center renovation and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich's movement to Otterbein were also discussed at the meeting.
Otterbein President John Comerford met with presidents of the United Methodist affiliated colleges and universities to write a statement encouraging the United Methodist Church to change its current policy.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Robert Gatti spoke with OUSG at the meeting regarding the university's affiliation with the United Methodist Church in relation to their stance on sexuality.
The 2016 Book of Discipline Statements of the United Methodist Church said, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church.”
According to the church's website, The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church will hold a special session on Feb. 23-29 to review these statements. Three structural proposals will be considered at the session: a traditional, one-church or connection-conference plan.
The traditional plan would solidify the church’s current stance on sexuality. The one-church plan would allow the church to be faithful within their own contextual ministries and remove penalties for pastors blessing same-sex marriages. The connection-conference plan would create three distinct divisions: traditional, progressive and unity. Churches could choose to be affiliated with any of these divisions.
Gatti said that Otterbein’s affiliation with the United Methodist Church will be based on the outcome of these sessions at a Town Hall meeting on Feb. 6. The university's mission and values committee will lead the discussion.
Regarding Kasich joining the Otterbein community, Gatti said Kasich's title will be “Senior Fellow” and his office will be on the third floor of Roush Hall.
Campus center renovations were originally set to begin May 2019 but will be delayed until the university secures donations needed to fund construction.