In February, 2019, a special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference met in St. Louis to discuss disagreements over the current and future teaching of the United Methodist Church on the topics of human sexuality. It upheld the United Methodist Church’s historical teaching that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.
St. Stephen’s has, historically, avoided these conversations by focusing on areas of agreement. That has allowed St. Stephen’s to thrive as a large, ideologically diverse congregation. There are many who find the continuation of that strategy untenable as the United Methodist Church as a denomination is facing schism over these questions.
On March 27, 2019, St. Stephen’s Church Council approved a proposal by the Church and Society Committee and friends to enter into a loving, respectful conversation with the goal of developing a congregational statement of response to the results of General Conference 2019. This conversation will have three steps: (1) a congregational survey; (2) small group discussions; and (3) a draft statement based on the survey results and small group discussions prepared by a committee specially selected by the Church Council. The draft statement will presented to the Church Council at its June meeting after an opportunity for congregational comment.