It’s a tender subject for many churchgoers but one that local Methodists are tackling head-on.
Gainesville First United Methodist Church is sponsoring “A Dialogue in Biblical Interpretation and Human Sexuality” from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23.
The event is being held in light of the denomination’s own emotional divide over gay marriage and gay clergy — one that could result in a schism.
“Your church leadership has spent much time in discussion and prayer over how we as a congregation might be best prepared for the days ahead,” said the Rev. Scott Hearn, Gainesville First’s senior pastor, in an online letter to church members.
Sunday’s event will feature a video presentation at 1 p.m. of two professors from Candler School of Theology, Kendall Soulen and Kevin Watson, addressing human sexuality — and specifically homosexuality — from traditionalist and progressive biblical perspectives.
At 2:30 p.m., Soulen and Watson will be on hand to answer submitted questions.
The program will be similar to an event held by Dunwoody United Methodist Church in the spring of 2019.
“The result (at Dunwoody) was people said their mind wasn’t changed, but now they better understand how someone else believes what they believe,” Hearn said. “We want to help our folks do that (also).”
Members will have another opportunity to talk on the topic before the 2020 General Conference, set for May 5-15 in Minneapolis.
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson of the denomination’s North Georgia Conference has scheduled town hall meetings “on the future of the United Methodist Church here in North Georgia and beyond.”
One of the meetings is set for 3 p.m. April 26 at Gainesville First UMC.