Virginia Wesleyan University Joins Call for Full Inclusion by United Methodist Conference

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(Photo courtesy Virginia Wesleyan University)

Virginia Wesleyan University President Scott D. Miller joined 93 fellow presidents and representatives of United Methodist colleges and universities across the U.S., signing a statement urging United Methodist General Conference delegates to adopt an inclusive path – especially for LGBTQ persons as they chart the future of the church and affiliated institutions.

On January 4, members of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) signed a joint statement urging church leaders to secure full and fair access for all individuals to the church and its ministries.

“We call upon the leaders of the United Methodist Church at this 2019 Called General Conference to honor the past and current practices of inclusion by amending their policies and practices to affirm full inclusion in the life and ministry of the United Methodist Church of all persons regardless of their race, ethnicity, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity/expression or sexual orientation,” write the NASCUMC members.

Delegates of The United Methodist Church’s special General Conference will meet Feb. 23-26 to discuss church policy in relation to human sexuality – specifically toward those who identify as LGBTQ. Specifically, church leaders are currently considering proposals to end a ban on “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from being ordained as ministers and forbidding pastors from marrying them in the church.

Serving as a spokesperson for the presidential group, Dr. Miller was quoted by The Washington Post “This is a pivotal moment in the Methodist Church and a pivotal moment in Methodist higher education,” Miller said.

The joint statement regarding issues coming before the Called General Conference in February was drafted by the NASCUMC board presidents and unanimously approved by all of those gathered for the winter meeting. NASCUMC is a voluntary organization that was initiated by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) – the United Methodist leadership development agency – and it wields considerable influence as the second-largest group of denominationally affiliated educational institutions in the United States. Its members serve more than 260,000 students across the United States.

NASCUMC comprises 119 member institutions, including 93 colleges and universities, 13 seminaries, 11 historically black institutions and several private secondary schools. NASCUMC is assisted by GBHEM’s Division of Higher Education.