In 1994, Trinity took the bold step of declaring ourselves a Reconciling Congregation. As part of our mission statement at the time, we affirmed the value of equal worth of all persons of all sexual orientations. In the years since that statement, we have continued to live into this ministry of justice and reconciliation. At present, due to the polity of the United Methodist Church, heterosexual couples may be married by our pastor in our sanctuary, and same-sex couples may not (1). Therefore, the Church Conference of Trinity UMC affirms the following policy with regard to all weddings and unions of persons of all sexual orientations, to be effective until such date as the larger UMC shall change their policy: No weddings or Holy Union Covenants will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church.
However, knowing that the Book of Discipline expressly forbids churches from prohibiting pastors from performing religious services (2), we realize that clergy will always have the right to perform worship services at their discretion, including weddings. This policy reflects the values and desires of the congregation.
In keeping with the Book of Discipline, while we will not celebrate “homosexual unions” in our building, we will provide a service of worship recognizing God’s grace for all couples in our sanctuary. These services may include the Sacrament of Holy Communion or a time of re-affirmation of baptism. As with any worship service, the primary focus will be on the grace of God. The service will also serve as a way for the gathered faith community to thank God for the gift of relationships. The pastor will officiate at this service in the same capacity as at any other worship service held in the church. The format of the worship service shall be developed by the pastor and couple in consultation.
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1 “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and should not be conducted in our churches.” UM Book of Discipline, para. 332.6
2 “. . . that the board of trustees shall not prevent or interfere with the pastor in the use of any of the said property for religious services or other proper meeting . . .” UM Book of Discipline, para. 2532.1