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Colloquy - Key Information


To bring together a theological conversation, including professors from the 13 United Methodist Church (UMC) seminaries, Asbury Theological Seminary (United States), Africa University (Zimbabwe), Reutlingen Theological School (Germany), and Wesley Divinity School (Philippines) for a colloquy on “The Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness” and share the results of this process with Boards of Ordained Ministry (BOMs), district superintendents (DSs), campus ministers, Order of Elders and the Order of Deacons.


We will create a community of lay and clergy leaders, scholars and professionals who collaboratively serve our denomination and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), the American Association of United Methodist Theological Schools (AUMTS), the Council of Bishops (COB), and particularly the Way Forward Commission. In addition, we envision a better, more substantive conversation about this subject in the Commission, in our theological schools, and across the UMC.


  • To understand our historical and cultural context
  • To examine The United Methodist Church’s current polity and theological stance
  • To ascertain the theological impact on the church
  • To discuss the role of theological schools in clarifying and substantiating meaningful conversation
  • To develop a theological base through academic papers and other publications to support relevant church conversation and understanding
  • To plan long-term support of further conversation and understanding among church leadership


  • Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church (COB)
  • General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM)
  • American Association of United Methodist Theological Schools (AUMTS)


  • Bishop Ken Carter, Way Forward Commission (COB)
  • Dr. Kim Cape, General Secretary, GBHEM


  • Participants: invited academics from our United Methodist-related schools who presented papers from a theological stance on the topic
  • Invited Observers: key members of leadership in the UMC
  • Observers: others who attended and sought understanding from the discussion

Additional Information

  • The United Methodist Church is a worldwide church and our ministry reflects our varied contexts. Discussions on “The Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality” will include academic theological considerations, conversations involving BOMs, DSs, campus ministers, and the Orders of Deacon and Elder, making these resources available across the church.
  • All the information gathered in the process of these conversations has a clear aim to promote a positive path “Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness” based on a careful theological exploration inspired by Wesleyan tradition and Methodist ecclesiology.
  • The conversations recognize that issues of human sexuality are fundamental to human identity. We must provide opportunities for narrative and real life, and demonstrate that we value first-hand experiences with these issues and that this process informs the work of BOMs, DSs, campus ministers, and the Orders of Deacon and Elder.
  • This initiative considers the historical dimension of this discussion and how the Church has weathered, sometimes succumbing to, sharply divisive issues before – war, civil rights, and theological divisions. At this moment in history, the UMC has the opportunity to be a force for unity in a world marked by fracture and this initiative could be a powerful and faithful hallmark of our witness.
  • The colloquy will produce two products:
    • A study guide distributed in May 2017 to all the annual conferences, using materials produced from the colloquy to invite discussion at each level of leadership.
    • A book of the theological papers written by academic participants in the colloquy, published in 2018