the free methodist church in canada
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.
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.
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.
The purpose of this task force is to implement the FMCiC’s Strategic Plan for equipping churches to minister more effectively to LGBTQ2S+ people. In addition to providing pastoral resources for churches, it is leading the denomination in asking the Lord the following three questions:
- Should we include a statement in our manual encouraging celibacy for LGBTQ2S+ people, and if so, what should that statement entail?
- Can people with an affirming theology of same-sex sexuality (including LGBTQ2S+ people) be members in our churches, and if so, under what conditions?
- Is it possible for our clergy who do not align with the FMCiC on our doctrine regarding same sex sexuality still to minister in our movement, and if so, under what conditions?
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
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.
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.
Primer for April 30, 2022 Public Forum – Information to prepare you for the upcoming LGBTQ2S+ Forum
Communication Regarding the Purpose of the LGBTQ2S+ Task Force – Frequently asked questions
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
Alan Chan, Calgary AB
David Schuchardt, SK
Have a question or want to engage with the Team? Please send us a message: