BY LUCY LETHBRIDGE
THE METHODIST CHURCH this week compromised over the thorny question of whether or not to allow openly gay men and women to become priests.
Following a bitter and at times emotional debate, the Church's annual conference voted narrrowly to reaffirm its traditional teaching on sexuality "chastity for all outside marriage, and fidelity within it".
The decision effectively allows the ordination of gay ministers, provided they are chaste.
But in his opening address the Methodist president, Dr Brian Beck, stressed that sexuality, "thick as a brick and indigestible as an old boot", was not the most important issue on the agenda.
"Sexuality touches the whole of human life, but human life is more than sexuality," said Dr Beck.
Conference also debated motions on racial justice, unemployment gambling, euthanasia and teaching.