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GBHEM Issues Call for Papers at the Academic Theological Colloquy

January 17, 2017

Planning is well underway for the academic theological colloquy co-hosted by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools (AUMTS), in support from the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church (COB). Titled, “The Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness,” the colloquy will take place March 10-12, 2017, at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The colloquy is designed to serve as a theological reflection from academic scholars on human sexuality and Christian doctrine. The goal is to provide a comprehensive and constructive conversation that will serve as a resource for the COB and the greater church.  

GBHEM and AUMTS has invited a diverse group of United Methodist scholars and theologians from around the world to write and present reflections on human sexuality. Participants will come from United Methodist seminaries, Asbury Theological Seminary, Africa University (Zimbabwe), Reutlingen Theological School (Germany) and Wesley Divinity School (Philippines). Observers (general board leaders, church leadership and seminary faculty) have been specifically invited to attend the presentations and discussions. In accordance with the Book of Discipline, the colloquy is an open meeting dependent on seating capacity.   

During the three-day event, participants will work collectively to summarize the works presented and identify areas of commonality in the discussions. The summarized works will be used to create a study guide in spring 2017 for use by the annual conferences and local churches in facilitating discussion on the topic. All papers presented at the colloquy will be available online following the event.  

Dr. Charles Wood, retired professor of Christian Doctrine from Perkins School of Theology, will serve as a featured speaker at the event. Wood will present on “Wonder, Love, and Praise” (a document of the Committee on Faith and Order), focusing on the saving love of God for all people, the transformational love of God, and the ability of God’s love to create community.  Representatives from Pew Research will present an overview of research and surveys collected from around world on human sexuality. Pew is a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonadvocacy research organization that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.  

All information presented at the colloquy will provide content for a book, which will be published in spring 2018. The book will be presented to the COB and The Way Forward Commission, as well as serve as a resource for the church’s discussion on human sexuality and church unity.  

For more information regarding the colloquy, contact Ray Bailey, associate general secretary for administration and operations at GBHEM, at (615) 340-7334 or

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to lead and connect the educational and ministerial life of the church. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call on their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.

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