Methodist Church of Southern Africa presiding bishop Purity Malinga
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa released a statement yesterday contradicting announcements on social media that it officially changed its stance on gay marriage this week and now recognises and affirms the rights of gay people to be married.
“Contrary to some statements circulating on social media, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa ((MCSA) has never rejected members of the LGBTQIA community and would therefore have no need to welcome them back,” says presiding bishop of the MC SA Purity Malinga in a statement in which she says the church is still “in conversation about the theology of marriage” and is “not yet ready to apply for its ministers to officiate at same sex unions”.
She says at its 2001 conference the church adopted the principle that “the MCSA seeks to be a community of love rather than rejection…” and in 2014 “that any form of victimisation, hatred or violence towards homosexual people should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”
She says: “The MCSA also acknowledges that within the South African context, the Civil Union Act (2006) makes provision for any citizen to enter into a legal civil union and thus upholds the legal rights of persons choosing to do so. Therefore, based on broad –based consultation, the Connexional Executive 2020, tasked with handling some Conference (the highest legislative body of the church) business, resolved that while the MCSA continues its development on a theology of marriage, no citizen of a country within the six countries of our Connexion that allows Civil Union shall be prevented from entering into such a union which can be as same-sex or opposite sex couples. So, until Conference has pronounced differently, the MCSA encourages all members of the church to continue in respectful dialogue as we prayerfully continue our development on a theology of marriage.”