Norwegian authorities will recognise same-sex marriage in Methodist Church
If the Methodist Church of Norway agrees to seal same-sex marriages, the civil authorities would recognise them, even if the international Methodist Church community would disagree.
A church employee asked the authorities if they would recognise same-sex marriages if sealed in the Methodist Church of Norway. That is reported by Vart Land. Last month, the Nordic Methodist bishop Christian Alsted promised that gay couples would soon be able to seal their civil marriage in the Methodist Church. Currently, the religious community is working on a liturgy for such ceremonies.
However, the issue is a very sensitive topic within the international community of the United Methodist Church, to which also the denomination in Norway belongs. A while ago, a special conference took place on the issue. It was expected that the Methodist church leadership would approve a resolution that left the choice for same-sex marriages in the church up to the different national branches. However, the motion was rejected.
Yet, the Norwegian Methodist Church seems to ignore this stance. It keeps working on a special liturgy. Hilde Marie Øgreid Movafagh, who is responsible for it, says it will be as similar to the old one as possible, “only gender neutral.” She does not expect significant consequences for the direction the church is taking. “Then many other churches that have already adopted similar liturgies, both in the USA and other European countries, will have to be banned.”
Now, the Norwegian Methodist Church is also backed by the Norwegian authorities. As long as the weddings are performed in accordance with national guidelines, they will be recognised officially, Directorate for Children, Youth and Families (Bufdir) acknowledged.
The Directorate responded with that to a question from Ole-Einar Andersen, an information officer at Trondheim Methodist Church. Andersen took the initiative to send a letter to “find out whether a marriage between two people of the same sex would be valid under Norwegian law, even if the wedding liturgy is not approved in the Methodist Church’s international order”, he told Vart Land.
In response, Bufdir wrote that the church’s teaching on marriage is not an obstacle, Dagen writes.
Last year, the Methodist Church in Norway requested bishops to put complaints against priests and deacons for ordaining same-sex marriages on hold. This shows that the progressive course of the church is not new.
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