“We are saddened by the willingness of pastors within our New York Annual Conference to reject their ordination vows and the teaching of our church that goes back to Jesus and the apostles and to disobey the clear directive of our own bishop” says a group of evangelical United Methodist pastors after hearing that hundreds of their ministerial colleagues plan on conducting same-sex unions, even though the practice is forbidden by the denomination.

“Although we acknowledge the passion of their conviction,” the Wesley Fellowship statement continues, “we feel bound to hold to the covenant that binds us as a church.”  (The full text of the Wesley Fellowship statement can be found at the bottom of this press release.)

The Wesley Fellowship, an orthodox group of laity and clergy within the United Methodist Church in the New York/Connecticut area, issued their challenge in response to “A Covenant of Conscience,” a statement from 164 United Methodist clergy in New York indicating their availability and willingness to conduct same-sex marriages.

The United Methodist Church has an unambiguous statement that supports marriage only between a man and a woman. Furthermore, the world-wide denomination has restated its position every four years at its General Conference––the only entity that can speak officially for The United Methodist Church.

Conducting same-sex marriages is explicitly disallowed by the denomination. United Methodist clergy may not conduct such ceremonies, and the wedding services may not be conducted on United Methodist properties.

Clergy members “have an obligation to uphold the teaching of the Church,” says The Wesley Fellowship statement. “At ordination candidates agree to support and maintain our church government and polity (Book of Discipline, paragraph 336).” The Wesley Fellowship reminds their clergy colleagues that if they fulfill their pledge to conduct homosexual unions, they will be breaking the covenant that all United Methodists pledged to uphold.

The Wesley Fellowship statement also makes it clear that only the General Conference can speak for the entire denomination. It alone is the only entity that can change the denomination’s position on a controversial and sensitive matter such as homosexuality and same-sex unions.

Even though the states of New York and Connecticut may recognize same-sex unions, United Methodism cannot and does not. “The Church has a long tradition of maintaining its standards apart from those recognized or permitted by any civil authority,” stated the United Methodist Judicial Council, the highest court within the denomination, in April 2011. “The Church’s definition of marriage as contained in the Discipline is clear and unequivocal and is limited to the union of one man and one woman.”


[If you are a clergy member of the New York Annual Conference or a lay person attending a UMC in the New York Annual Conference you are invited to add your name to the list of people who have signed this document.  Please post a comment saying, “Add my name”.  Along with your name we would like to know what church you attend or are serving as Pastor.]


Comments on: "United Methodist Ministers Encourage Colleagues Not to Break their Clergy Covenant" (4)

  1. I wish I could sign this, too. It sounds like there are some pastors there who understand vows and commitment.

    Apparently those from the “covenant of conscience” do not see the irony that they are pledging to break their own ordination vows in order to preside over the making of unscriptural vows. Further, they have entered a covenant of conscience that violates their covenant of ordination. They may very well decide that their covenant of conscience supersedes their ordination vows, but in that case they should fulfill that covenant of conscience and publicly leave their ordination vows, and not violate our connection by taking the UMC down a road we have clearly stated that we do not believe is compatible with Christian teaching.

  2. Dr. Bill Bouknight said:

    Blessings on you, Wesley Fellowship, for standing up for Scriptural truth.

  3. check out what William Barclay says (Bible Scholar)(Daily Bible Commentary on I Cor. 6:9-12), what Albert Outler (Wesley scholar) says, what E. Stanley Jones (great missionary evangelist) says, what James Dobson says, what Billy Graham says – on the practice of homosexuality – they confirm what Scripture says – it’s wrong – unmarried homosexuals,
    like unmarried heterosexuals should remain celebate (Fidelity in marriage – celebacy in singleness) or be changed as promised in I Cor. 6:9-12.
    Charles Whittle

  4. Rev Stephen Webb said:

    We have a Discipline for a reason…Blessings to you Wesley Fellowship for upholding the Discipline and the Word.

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