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Wesleyan and Methodist Studies Unit

Call for Proposals

LGBTQ+ Experience as an Ecclesial Issue (Co-Sponsored Session with the Ecclesiological Investigations Unit and the Queer Studies Unit)
The reality of LGBTQ+ experience is a complex phenomenon among churches on local, regional, national, and global levels, within Methodist and Wesleyan communities as well as other denominations and church families. That complexity has impacted the pastoral reality of churches and their self-understanding on all these levels. We invite papers that consider how LGBTQ+ people and their experiences impact churches' experiences and ecclesiologies, particularly in Wesleyan and holiness traditions but also in other churches and traditions. How are LGBTQ+ Christians changing the way we think about the church? How are LGBTQ+ experiences challenging local churches, denominational bodies, and ecumenical relationships? When it comes to tensions and even schisms, what are the competing rationales and forms of ethical discernment underlying opposing visions? What are the differing hermeneutical, historical, narrative, scriptural, traditional, social, and cultural dimensions at work? Are divisions inevitable or are new forms of understanding yet possible? In what ways have LGBTQ+ Christians functioned as a gift, an opportunity, or a challenge to envision or understand the church? What resources in Methodist and Wesleyan theology and ecclesiology, and those of other communities, might assist churches in their responses to LGBTQ+ experiences?

Theological Education in the Wesleyan/Methodist Traditions
In recognition of the 300th anniversary of John Wesley’s matriculation at Oxford, the Unit issues a call for papers on theological education in the Wesley/Methodist traditions. Topics may explore, but are not limited to, the meaning and purpose of theological education; alternative paths to educating clergy and laity; the role of worship and spiritual disciplines in theological education; the significance of social justice in theological education; the influence of monasticism/new monasticism on contemporary efforts to create communities of learning and service; the relationship or tensions between the purposes of seminaries and the mission of the research universities in which they are often housed; the future direction of theological education in global context.

Wesleyan/Methodist Theology and Social Justice
Wesleyan/Methodist theology, social change, and the fight for justice. Recognizing the work of individuals, such as James Lawson, to move social, ecclesial, and political institutions toward practices of justice, equality, and inclusion, the Unit invites paper proposals that examine the interaction between Wesleyan/Methodist theological traditions and social justice movements across the world. Papers may focus on the work of specific individuals or more broadly on elements within the Wesleyan/Methodist theological traditions from which to draw in opposing all forms of injustice and oppression that rob people of their legal rights and human dignity.

Women in the Wesley/Methodist Traditions
In concert with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s implementation, the Unit issues a call for papers on the roles of women in the Wesleyan and Methodist traditions. Papers may be historical or contemporary in focus. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the leadership of Wesleyan/Methodist women in movements for human rights, the leadership of Wesleyan/Methodist women from underrepresented groups, challenges faced by women in the Wesleyan/Methodist traditions, institutions established by Wesleyan/Methodist women, or the contributions of Wesleyan/Methodist female theologians.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit seeks to promote the critical understanding and appropriation of Wesleyan and Methodist traditions. Our sessions are purposefully structured to encourage not only historical/sociological studies, but also theological reflection, critique, and extension. We understand Wesleyan traditions to include Methodist, Holiness, and other related strands of Christian tradition.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members

Review Process Comments

We followed standard AAR procedures to insure blind review of the paper proposals. Co-chairs were able to access demographic information to inform the steering committee about issues of representation without revealing names of proposers. This did not end up being a significant factor in our eventual selections. As we noted with respect to the session on Dr James Cone, we had to deal with three presenters chosen through the blind selection process who represented only Euro-American and European perspectives, and we tried to balance this with both a session chair and a respondent who represented African-American Wesleyan and Methodist traditions.