The Methodist Church today declared that it is not on board with Government’s decision to recognize same sex marriages, instead affirming its “non-negotiable” support for the Bible’s teachings on marriage.
In a strong statement, Bishop of the South Caribbean District Derek Richards affirmed “biblical, traditional, natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in a lifetime covenant.”
The church made it clear that no Methodist minister will conduct the marriage or bless the union same sex-partners.
Below is the full text of the statement
The Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA), acknowledges human sexuality as God’s gift for intimacy and procreation. Borne out of this tenet is the belief that the sanctity of marriage is a critical part of our family life, and as such the community of MCCA members affirms that in the marriage bond, intimacy, and procreation find their highest fulfilment. In our recent historical journey, there have been heightened awareness and arguments in favour of homosexuality as an acceptable aspect of our family, social and national life. The Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas emphasizes that homosexuality is a deviation from Christian principles (Romans 1: 26-27), which is neither condoned nor accepted by us.
The Methodist Church of Barbados, as a member of the MCCA, therefore stands on the biblical truths concerning acceptable unions of which marriage is primary, notwithstanding The Throne Speech of September 15, 2020 in which the Government of Barbados announced its decision to recognize same sex civil unions. We affirm biblical, traditional, natural marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in a lifetime covenant commitment. The Scriptures’ teachings on marriage for us as Methodists is non-negotiable.
Consequently, our practice remains that no Methodist minister, and furthermore no person acting in the name of the Methodist Church has the authority to conduct the marriage or bless the union of same-sex partners.
Additionally, we strongly encourage all Methodist ministers, leaders, and churches to openly reject any mandated legal definition of marriage (civil or otherwise) and to use their influence to affirm God’s design for life and relationships.
It must be noted, however, that certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all people. We therefore affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God. As such our church will continue to work toward a society in which each person’s value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened. We will support the basic rights of all persons to equal access to housing, education, communication, employment, medical care, legal redress for grievances, and physical protection. We deplore acts of hate or violence against groups or people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction.
The Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas upholds that all people can enter into reconciling and transforming relationships with God and others through Jesus Christ, and participate in the life of the Church Community (2 Corinthians 5:17 -19). The MCCA therefore commits itself to ministering to all areas of human brokenness by offering pastoral care and counselling and establishing through teaching, the Biblical and theological precepts.
BISHOP, THE REV. DERICK A. RICHARDS