Annual Conference officers return query regarding congregational latitude on matters of human sexuality

Illinois/Wisconsin District may choose to revise and resubmit query for 2025

From the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference officers

As part of their final processing of potential business items for the 2024 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference (, the Annual Conference officers ( have returned the Illinois/Wisconsin District’s query titled “Regarding Greater Congregational Latitude on Matters of Sexuality” back to the district for further revision and potential resubmission in 2025.

The decision to return, which was made during the Annual Conference officers’ meeting on March 19, 2024, did not come lightly–but was necessary due to language in the query that could be construed as answering the query itself, rather than asking a question for discussion and discernment by the church.

“Our denominational polity states that queries should avoid giving answers or proposing solutions to the problem raised by the query,” said David Shumate, Annual Conference secretary. “This may feel like a technicality to some. But this requirement is important in its intention to invite shared spiritual discernment and outcomes from the Annual Conference delegate body.”

The query–which asks whether decisions related to sexuality should be made at the congregational level rather than by the denomination or districts given the personal nature, wide range of viewpoints, ongoing disagreements, and inconsistent enforcement of policy related to these matters–originated in the York Center congregation with support from the Highland Avenue congregation. District delegates overwhelmingly voted to send the query on to Annual Conference at the Illinois/Wisconsin District Conference on Nov. 4, 2023.

“We recognize and appreciate the thoughtful, spiritual, and thorough inquiry and discernment that members of the Illinois/Wisconsin District conducted in preparing this query for their district and Annual Conference consideration,” said Madalyn Metzger, Annual Conference moderator. “We share in the disappointment that the returning of this query brings, but believe it is necessary so that the query is fully ready to be considered by Annual Conference.”

“Our goal is to bring the highest quality and clarity of business items to Annual Conference, so that we as a body can address issues central to the life of the church,” Shumate added. “Should the Illinois/Wisconsin District choose to revise the query’s question, it can then be resubmitted to the 2025 Annual Conference.”

More information about the query process and requirements may be found at


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