A Pastoral Letter From Bishop William McAlilly on Today’s Supreme Court Ruling

BishopMcAlilly_sqDear sisters and brothers,

As you know, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in a 5-4 ruling that states cannot ban same gender marriage. Gay and lesbian couples across the country have a constitutional right to marry. This significant change in our civil law impacts each of us as we also live within the polity and discipline of the United Methodist Church.

As we seek to be in ministry with all persons, this law does not change what is and what is not allowed by United Methodist pastors and congregations. In a marriage ceremony of same gender persons, pastors may not lead the declaration of intent, lead the exchange of wedding vows and ring vows, or sign marriage certificates. Our church law does not prohibit offering a prayer or a homily in such a ceremony.

As your pastoral leader, I pray for the United Methodist Church in this season. I pray that we will lead with deep respect for each other. This is not a time to draw lines in the sand but rather a time to come together in prayer for one another and for all those with whom God calls us to be in ministry.

Together, let us pray:

Grant us, O God, in challenges of this present age, the grace to live with one another in the midst of a changing world. Lead us, O Lord, to live more fully in you that we may see your face in the faces of our sisters and brothers. Guide your Church to be faithful as we seek to embody your love, your hope, and your justice.

As citizens of this great nation, surround us with understanding in the midst of changes we do not always understand. As civil laws change, surround us with your wisdom that is greater than ours. Teach us to glorify you in all that we do.

 May we continually seek to be centered in your will.

In the midst of our diversity as the United Methodist Church, grant us the will to live in unity.  

Above all, teach us to walk humbly with one another and allow us to live with one another with grace and mercy as Christ has taught us to do.

–Bishop William T. McAlilly

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