Statement of the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools (AUMTS) at the Special Session of General Conference 2019
I stand to speak on behalf of the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools, which voted this morning to authorize this statement. The Association is composed of the heads of the 13 seminaries of the UMC: Boston School of Theology, Candler School of Theology at Emory, Claremont School of Theology, Drew University Theological School, Duke Divinity School, Gammon Theological Seminary, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Iliff School of Theology, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, Perkins School of Theology, St. Paul School of Theology, United Theological Seminary, and Wesley Theological Seminary.
Ever since the General Conference in Portland our United Methodist students and those who are considering seminary have been waiting to see what will happen here in St. Louis at the Special General Conference. Most of our students are young, with the majority under 30 years old. Public opinion polls in the United States clearly demonstrate that younger people in this country, including deeply devoted Christians, do not want to organize their spiritual and church lives around the question of excluding LGBTQIA persons.
It is clear to all of us as heads of seminary that if the Traditional Plan passes, many students and prospective students will decide there is no place for them in this denomination. If the Traditional Plan passes, we will very soon lose an entire generation of leadership here in the United States. This may not be true in Africa or elsewhere in the world. But the future of The United Methodist Church in this country is at stake here today.
Moreover, according the recent statement by the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church, many if not most of our colleges and universities and seminaries will separate from the UMC, and this denomination will no longer demonstrate its commitment to education for all leaders. These institutions of higher education will react not in anger, but in sorrow and resignation. The seriousness of such a direction of exclusion for our institutions of higher learning cannot be overstated. Again, all of the heads of the official seminaries of the UMC want you to know that the future of The United Methodist Church in this country is at stake. Please, please vote against the Traditional Plan.