Methodist Church in Ireland maintains biblical position on marriage

The Methodist Church in Ireland (MCI) has reaffirmed its commitment to one man, one woman marriage.

Last week, delegates at the MCI’s annual conference voted to uphold the church’s orthodox biblical teaching on marriage.

The MCI is a connexion of 200 churches across the island of Ireland with around 50,000 members.

‘Different readings’

Conference delegates overwhelmingly backed a report presented by the church’s Faith and Order Committee following its ten-year review of “Christian teaching on sexuality and practice”.

Members also voted to retain a controversial resolution that states that “Scripture on human sexuality is read and understood in different ways” and said Methodists “differ as to the validity of those different readings”.

The Committee also recommended that decisions on how sexual conduct might “impact the ways in which someone may serve” be left to local leadership.

Faithfulness and celibacy

In keeping with its terms of reference, however, the committee did not consider introducing changes to the MCI’s stated position on marriage.

“Marriage is a relationship, intended as permanent, between one man and one woman within which sexual intercourse establishes a unique intimacy. A loving marriage relationship is seen as the only appropriate relationship within which sexual intercourse may take place.”
Methodist Belief 2003

Revd Philip Gallagher moved an amendment to the report affirming that “adherence to MCI teaching on marriage requires faithfulness in marriage and celibacy outside of it”.

The amendment further stated, “this is a goal of discipleship and a standard for spiritual leadership and teaching roles”. The amendment passed by 105 votes to 91.

Same-sex weddings

In 2021, the governing body of the Methodist Church in Great Britain voted to redefine marriage, carry out same-sex weddings and affirm cohabitation.

Representatives at the church’s annual Conference consented “in principle to the marriage of same-sex couples” by 254 votes to 46. The Conference also endorsed “informal cohabitation”, equating it to marriage.

Also see:

Marriage/wedding rings

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