Methodist Church appoints working group on marriage
A working group is to be appointed to consider the Methodist Church's position on marriage.
The group will be tasked with considering whether the position of the Church should be revised to reflect changes in society.
Its reflections will be made with reference to "scripture, tradition, reason and experience", and take into consideration the implications of the Marriages (Same Sex Couples) Bill to legalise gay marriage.
The membership of the working group will reflect the breadth of theology, age, ethnicity, gender and experience in the Church.
In a response to the Government's plans to legalise gay marriage last December, the General Secretary of the Methodist Church, the Reverend Dr Martyn Atkins said the Methodist Church "explicitly recognised, affirmed and celebrated the participation and ministry of lesbians and gay men".
"The Government has indicated that Churches which do not wish to marry same-sex couples will have the protection of law. This is important. However, in our response to the consultation we also stated that, while in the future we may or may not choose to affirm same-sex marriage, it would be unwarranted interference for the State to make that decision for us," he said.
Evidence submitted by the Methodist Church to the House of Commons Bill Committee in February affirmed the Church's belief that marriage is a lifelong union in body, mind and spirit of one man and one woman.