Marriage Equality FAQs

Questions

 

On the Marriage Equality Policy Proposal

How will Foundry’s same sex marriage policy be decided?

Will the policy address other aspects of this issue, such as apportionments, advocacy?

Can we consider alternative proposals?

Is there a larger strategy that may help deal with the statements in the Discipline?

 

On the Summer of Discernment

What is the Summer of Discernment?

What related events are planned so I can learn more?

Why are we doing this process over the summer when so many people are out of town?

How can I volunteer to help out with the Summer of Discernment events?

 

On the Church Conference

What is a Church Conference?

What will be decided at the Church Conference?

When will the Church Conference take place?

Who will organize this Church Conference?

Who can vote in September? Can associate members vote?

How can I verify my membership status?

Will there be an up or down vote on that proposed policy at the Conference?

Will amendments to the proposed policy be allowed?

How will the congregation's feedback be incorporated into the policy?

 

Answers

How will Foundry’s same sex marriage policy be decided?
Foundry will intentionally consider all sides of a policy for its congregation and ministries, including opportunities and implications. The decision will be made in a formal process referred to by the UMC Book of Discipline as “Church Conference.”

Will the policy address other aspects of this issue, such as apportionments, advocacy?
No, just Foundry’s marriage policy.

Can we consider alternative proposals different from the proposed resolution, such as not approving the performance of SSM marriages or not performing any marriages?
Yes, some of those alternatives have been discussed in the various events during the Summer of Great Discernment and, to the extent anyone has submitted a written alternative proposal, they are posted on the online discussion forum. But the means of addressing these alternatives depend on the alternatives. The current status at Foundry is not to perform SSM marriages, so if the resolution does not pass on September 26, that will continue to be the status (absent further action) and there is no need to restate that position.  If the proposed resolution does pass on September 26, it will represent the majority will of the congregation.  Also, if the proposed resolution does not pass, we can consider whether alternative resolutions or steps that change the status quo should be adopted.  In practical tems, Foundry members who strongly favor the status quo OR a different approach to changing the status quo probably should vote against the resolution. 

The resolution seems to be confined to the issue of whether the Congregation will or will not support SSM, but is there a larger strategy that may help deal with the statements in the Discipline or deal with the effect of any violation of it?

Yes, Foundry has historically supported advocacy efforts to change the Discipline. Foundry has already embarked on a strategy of changing the Discipline by 2012 and forming a an outward facing advocacy Ministry Team dedicated to supporting the changes to the Discipline's general discriminatory policies and practices impacting LGBT individuals, Reconciling Congregations and LGBT inclusiveness.  That effort will likely lead to the formation of a coalition with other congregations, advocacy, education, outreach, fund raising and use of funds for purposes that are supportive of congregations and clergy who are inclusive and/or who favor or celebrate SSM, and the like. That structure can be used to help deal with whatever may come from the performance of SSM.   Different opinions exist about whether passage or rejection of the proposed resolution would hurt or hinder that larger strategic effort. Some feel it might be a catalyst for change, some feel it might make change more difficult.  The strength of the linkage seems unclear. 

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What is the Summer of Discernment?
Over the course of this summer, Foundry UMC will enter into a period of discernment in order to consider the issues for the church, related to marriage equality. This intentional discernment period will extend from May until September, when a Church Conference will be convened..

What related events are planned so I can learn more?
A series of monthly events are planned from May-August with several events scheduled in September leading up to the Church Conference. These events will present the many facets of this issue, including its history, implications, personal testimonies and spiritual aspects. In addition, all Foundry groups (classes, councils, etc.) will be challenged to discuss this issue. The groups will be provided with balanced curriculum to inform these discussions. These events will be supported by communication strategies including web and new media, voter guides, and newsletter articles.

Why are we doing this process over the summer when so many people are out of town?
Due to the recent decision of DC to legalize same sex marriage, Foundry leaders felt that it was the right time to discern what the Foundry policy should be. The actual vote will be in the Fall and Summer is a good time to discuss, think,read and pray about this decision.

What will be decided at the Church Conference?
As a church, we will decide Foundry's marriage policy. This is related to the recent decision in the District of Columbia to legally marry same sex couples..

How can I volunteer to help out with the Summer of Discernment events?
Simply email church.conference@foundryumc.org and we will get back to you. We will need ushers, discussion facilitators and more.

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What is a Church Conference?
A Church Conference is a formal UMC process whereby all present members of a congregation meet to vote on a specific issue.

When will the Church Conference take place?
Foundry’s Church Conference will be hosted on Sunday, September 26, 2010 following the 11am service.

Who will organize this Church Conference?
The Congregational Council and a specially commissioned Church Conference Ministry Team will organize the conference. You may email the Ministry Team at church.conference@foundryumc.org

Who can vote in September? Can associate members vote?
“Full professing members” are eligible to vote at the Church Conference on September 26, 2010. A full member is a person who has professed their faith and committed to being a member before the Foundry congregation. Affiliate Members and Associate Members are not permitted to vote. An Affiliate is one who has retained their membership at another UMC church. An Associate is one who has retained their membership at a non-UMC church of another denomination.

How can I verify if I am a full professing member of Foundry UMC?
By June 30, 2010, a complete listing of full members of Foundry UMC will be posted in the Fellowship Hall for congregants to self-verify. Foundry congregants may also call the church office (202.332.4010), stop by the church office or email Robert McDonald, Director of Membership Services (rmcdonald@foundryumc.org) to verify their membership status. If you have questions about your membership status, please email Robert McDonald.

Will there be an up or down vote on the proposed policy at the end of the summer?
The Foundry congregation will receive a proposed policy. This is a starting point for the discernment process. The Congregational Council will receive input and release a final policy for the Conference vote by July 25.

Will it be possible to amend the proposed policy?
A final policy for vote at the Church Conference will be released by July 25. All feedback will considered and is due to the Congregational Council by July 18. Our goal is to have the amendments completed before the Church Conference so that we can vote on the policy.

How will the congregation's feedback be incorporated into the policy?
The Congregational Council will receive comments and feedback through July 18th by comments to cong.council@foundryumc.org; participation at events; postings to the online forum, etc. Feedback will be considered and a final policy for consideration at the Conference will be released by July 25.