The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools (AUMTS) announced the launch of a new website focused on the academic theological colloquy, “The Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.” The event will take place March 10-12, 2017, at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia.
The website features information such as event updates, speaker bios, contacts and other important details. Following the colloquy, the site will house the theological papers submitted by participating scholars along with an in-depth study guide to continue meaningful dialogue on human sexuality and church unity.
A total of 30 administrators and faculty from colleges and universities around the world will participate in the colloquy, presenting theological reflections on human sexuality and Christian doctrine. More than 30 church leaders, including members of the Council of Bishops and the Way Commission, and scholars are scheduled to attend the colloquy as observers.
Small orientation meetings will begin on the evening of Thursday, March 9 for observers, moderators and facilitators. The colloquy will officially kick-off on Friday, March 10 at 8:30 a.m. with featured speakers Gregory Smith, associate director of research at Pew Research, and Charles M. Wood, Lehman professor emeritus at Perkins School of Theology. Worship and devotion time is incorporated throughout the colloquy agenda.
During the remaining two days of the event, participants will spend time reviewing and analyzing the papers presented through small workgroups and large moderated discussions. A summary of the discussions and a question-and-answer session with Bishop Ken Carter on the Way Forward Commission will close out the colloquy. At the conclusion, participants and observers will have the opportunity to provide feedback about the overall event and content via a survey.
GBHEM and AUMTS are co-hosting the event, with support from the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. The colloquy is designed to serve as a resource for the church, providing comprehensive and constructive theological reflections on the topics of human sexuality and church unity. The reflections will be presented to The Way Forward Commission following the event. Study guides will be made available to annual conferences in May 2017 to aid in the facilitation of discussions, and a book will be released in 2018 featuring the papers presented at the colloquy.