|The Family: We believe the family to be the basic human community through which persons are nurtured and sustained in mutual love, responsibility, respect, and fidelity. We understand the family as encompassing a wider range of options than that of the two-generational unit of parents and children, including the extended family, families with adopted children, single parents, stepfamilies, and couples without children.
Single Persons: We affirm the integrity of single persons, and we reject all social practices that discriminate or social attitude that are prejudicial against persons because they are single.
Marriage: We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman.
Divorce: When a married couple is estranged beyond reconciliation, even after thoughtful consideration, prayer and counsel, divorce is a regrettable alternative in the midst of brokenness. Divorce does not preclude a new marriage in the Methodist Church.
Women and Men: We affirm with Scripture the common humanity of male and female, both having been given equal worth in the eyes of God. We understand our gender diversity to be a gift from God, intended to add to the rich variety of human experience and perspective; and we guard against attitudes and traditions that would use this good gift to leave members of one sex more vulnerable in relationships than members of another.
We ordain women as clergy in the United Methodist Church and have done so since 1956.
Human Sexuality: We recognize that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are only clearly affirmed in the marriage bond.
Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth. All persons need the ministry and guidance of the church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. Although we do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching, we affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.
Abortion: Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of human life and well being of the mother, for whom devastating damage may result from an unacceptable pregnancy. In continuity with past Christian teaching, we recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion under proper medical procedures. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection. We commit our Church to continue to provide nurturing ministries to those who terminate a pregnancy, to those in the midst of a crisis pregnancy, and to those who give birth. Governmental laws and regulations do not provide all the guidance required by the informed Christian conscience. Therefore, a decision concerning abortion should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.
Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco: We encourage abstinence from the use of alcohol. We also encourage abstinence from and the misuse of drugs and tobacco products. We do this as a faithful witness to God’s liberating and redeeming love for persons. We also do this in light of our high standard of personal discipline and social responsibility.