As indicated in ¶216 (2012 BOD), all persons, regardless of age or ability, must be baptized, instructed and nurtured in the faith, and committed to a life of discipleship, before they can be confirmed into membership. Membership is a matter of spirituality, not ability or age. A person may be denied membership if they are unable to profess their faith in a way acceptable to their pastor or the presiding elder. However, this legislation protects people from being denied membership simply because they are too young or too old, or due to their physical or mental circumstances.
This amendment strictly pertains to membership and is not about commissioning or ordination.
The meaning of “gender” is consistent with the Book of Discipline’s use of the term: female or male.
¶244.3 is clear that the people who participate in the
governance of the Church are those who “love the church, are morally disciplined, are committed to the mandate of inclusiveness in the life of the church, are loyal to the ethical standards of The United Methodist Church set forth in the Social Principles, and are competent to administer its affairs.” This is without regard to gender, marital status, age, or ability.
Abilities are God-given capacities. For example, we refer to the ability to see, hear, or attend to details. Skills are learned behaviors. The capability to perform mathematical equations, read, or write a paragraph is a skill. Although a person may not have the ability to learn or execute particular skills, that does not prohibit them from membership in The United Methodist Church according to this amendment.
Marital status refers to a person being either single or married.