Leaders of United Methodist Men lament the defeat of constitutional amendments
The top staff executive and the president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men join with bishops and United Methodist Women in expressing disappointment that two constitutional amendments related to the rights of women and other vulnerable groups will not be added to the United Methodist constitution.
The Council of Bishops announced May 7 that two of five proposed constitutional amendments failed to receive the necessary 2/3 aggregate vote of all the annual conferences in The United Methodist Church.
The Council of Bishops said they did not understand why amendments regarding gender equality did not pass, but they expressed unequivocal commitment to the equality of women and their full inclusion in our Church.
“We know from personal and professional experience the value of full inclusion of women,” said Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men, and Mississippi Area Bishop James Swanson Sr., president of the Nashville-based agency. “Our church is at its best when women and men are welcomed at every table at every level of our connection.”
Amendment #1 would have added language that both men and women are made in the image of God and that we will confront and seek to eliminate discrimination against women and girls. The amendment received an aggregate vote of 66.5%, falling short of the necessary 2/3 majority by .2 % (less than 100 votes).
Amendment #2, would have added this language, “… nor shall any member be denied access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church because of race, color, gender, national origin, ability, age, marital status, or economic condition.” The amendment received an aggregate vote of 61.3%, again falling short of a 2/3 vote.
In a separate letter following the announcement, women bishops said they “weep for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harm that is inflicted upon women and girls because of this action. We weep for those who are denied the ability to use their gifts to make a difference in the world. We also weep for those who are not protected from exclusion in the church because of race, color, gender, national origin, ability, age, marital status, or economic condition.”