The United Methodists of Greater New Jersey leadership, meeting on Oct. 26, voted to help all churches thrive and to assist congregations to be in ministry with the LGBTQ+ community including performing weddings for same gender couples, said the Bishop of Greater New Jersey John Schol.
Separately, the Board of Ordained Ministries affirmed that it would examine candidates based on their gifts for ministry, not on their sexual orientation.
Quoting from his address, the Bishop said: “I will not forward complaints for trial against LGBTQ+ people who serve the church or those who bless gays and lesbians in marriage. I believe it is the pastoral action to take. The LGBTQ community should not live in fear of what the church will do to them because they pursue their calling, because they want to serve people, or because they seek God’s blessing, because all people are of sacred worth.”
The Greater New Jersey Annual Conference created a commission on A Way Forward, in response to the global UMC decision earlier this year, with respect to inclusion of LGBTQ persons in ministry and performance of same-sex weddings. Yesterday at a special meeting of the Greater New Jersey group, the report of the Commission on a Way Forward was approved.
The plan provides a mechanism for churches to create a convenant to govern how they will operate with respect to LQBTQ+ pastors and same-sex weddings.
We invite your prayers for all New Jersey congregations.