Survey on Sexuality and the Way Forward

Jason Micheli —  February 25, 2019 — 1 Comment

Earlier this fall, I had a friend in my congregation, who runs Republican political campaigns, compile a quick survey of my congregation about their thoughts on the Way Forward. I think Annandale United Methodist Church is fairly representative of the larger UMC and provides a snapshot about the possible consquences of what the proposals before the General Conference this week in St. Louis. I received a total of 343 surveys over 1 week.

Interestingly— or, tellingly— over 80% of the congregation said they would support same-sex weddings performed in their sanctuary.

The more you localize the question, in other words, the more inclusive they responded.

It’s also true, however, that a traditionali perspective does not correspond to a lack of familiarity with LGBQT people personally.

1. The UMC’s Book of Discipline presently states that ‘homosexuals are persons of sacred worth’ while also stating that ‘homosexuality is a lifestyle incompatible with Christian teaching,’ Currently, LGBTQ Christians are barred from ordination and pastors are prevented from celebrating same-sex weddings. Which of the following best captures your thoughts:

68.5%

I would support changing Book of Discipline to allow both ordination of LGBTQ Christians and the celebration of same-sex weddings by UMC clergy.

23.5%

I would support leaving the language in the Book of Discipline as it is.
2. If the UMC decides to keep the current policy but also decides to increase enforcement of it (for example, revoking the credentials of pastors who celebrate same-sex weddings):

18.3%

I would definitely leave the UMC

39%

I would lean towards leaving the UMC

22.1%

I would definitely stay in the UMC

20.7%

I would lean towards staying in the UMC

 

3. If the UMC decides to revise the current policy, allowing for gay ordination, I would:

10.3%

I would definitely leave the UMC

10.3%

I would lean towards leaving the UMC

58.7%

I would definitely stay in the UMC

20.7%

I would lean towards staying in the UMC

 

4. If the UMC decides to revise the current policy, allowing same-sex weddings, I would:

12.2%

I would definitely leave the UMC

8%

I would lean towards leaving the UMC

61%

I would definitely stay in the UMC

18.8%

I would lean towards staying in the UMC
5. Some members of the UMC have argued that should the global Conference preserve the existing language in the Book of Discipline, a degree of autonomy should be granted to regional conferences or congregations to enforce or not enforce the Book of Discipline. Would you support or oppose that practice of allowing disagreeing conferences to disregard the Book of Discipline’s official policies and adapt its own policies.

Support: 62.4%

Oppose: 37.6%

 

6. Should the UMC change the Book of Discipline and allow clergy to celebrate same sex weddings, but grant congregational automony to make that decision, how would you prefer Annandale respond to requests for same sex weddings in our sanctuary?

88%: I would believe same-sex weddings could be conducted at AUMC

12%: I would not believe same-sex weddings could be conducted at AUMC

 

7. If the Book of Discipline is changed to allow ordination of LGBTQ Christians and a member of Annandale UMC asks for the congregation’s recommendation to go through the ordination process, would you:

53.1%

Support recommending

16.4%

Oppose recommending

23.9%

Defer to SPRC’s decision

6.6%

No Opinion

 

8. I feel the ‘Way Forward’ for the UMC’s future is by…

71.4%

Focus on becoming more welcoming and inclusive

28.6%

Focus on biblical teachings and not contemporary social issues

 

9. Some Christians feel that the UMC has spent too much time and money (over 20% of our budget goes to the larger denomination and the General Conference, where this debate will be decided, will cost approximately $14K/minute) dividing and distracting the church on the divisive subject of sexuality while other Christians believe that adapting our policies regarding same-sex relationships to modern reality is central to our calling. Which comes closest to your belief?

70.4%

We are overdue to adapt our policies regarding same-sex relationships.

29.6%

Too much time has been spent dividing the church by trying to change policies on sexuality.
10. One possibility is that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church would allow for a “gracious exit” of individual congregations to leave the denomination with their property and assets. If the UMC maintains or makes the Book of Discipline’s policies more restrictive, would you support or oppose AUMC leaving the denomination?

55.4%

Support

44.6%

Oppose

 

11. If the UMC makes the Book of Discipline’s policies more progressive, would you support or oppose AUMC leaving the denomination?

73.2%

Oppose

26.8%

Support

 

12. I have…

37.1%

An LGBQT person in my family

78.1%

An LGBQT friend

53.5%

An LGBQT co-worker or neighbor

12.2%

Not sure

6.7%

I am an LGBQT person

 

13. Age

10.8%

19-35

23.5%

36-50

32.4%

51-65

31.9%

66+

 

14. Gender

57.3% – Female                                    39%- Male

Jason Micheli

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One response to Survey on Sexuality and the Way Forward

  1. Surprised and pleased by this!

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