United Methodist Church votes to keep discriminatory policy statements
Otterbein conflicted over United Methodist Church's stance on homosexuality
The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church voted Tuesday to keep bans on same-sex weddings and LGBTQ clergy. This decision conflicts with United Methodist Church-affiliated colleges and universities (NASCUMC) who encouraged the Church to remove certain discriminatory language from their governing documents.
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.”
In January 2019, Otterbein University President John Comerford met with presidents of the NASCUMC to write a joint statement asking the Church to review these statements.
United Methodist Church leaders considered three structural proposals at the Feb. 23-29 sessions: 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.
Church leaders voted to keep the traditional plan.
Otterbein was founded by the Evangelical United Brethren Church, which merged with the Methodist Church in 1967 to form the United Methodist Church. The university has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church ever since.
In Comerford's original campus update, he said, "Otterbein’s mission and values are not aligned with the Church’s current policy."
In a January Otterbein University Student Government meeting, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Robert Gatti said Otterbein’s affiliation with the United Methodist Church will be based on the outcome of the Church's February sessions. The university mission and values committee will lead the discussion.
No further comment has been made from university leaders at this time. T&C Media wil update information as it comes in.