The Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) has begun a process of reflection on whether ministers should be allowed to marry their same-sex partners.
Current rules forbid BUGB ministers from entering into same-sex marriages.
Appendix 3 Section 4.3 of the Ministerial Recognition Rules addresses sexual misconduct and includes "sexual intercourse and other genital sexual activity outside of marriage (as defined exclusively as between a man and a woman)".
A formal request has been made to amend the clause by removing the words "as defined exclusively as between a man and a woman".
The request was made in a letter signed by 70 members of the BUGB, the majority of whom are ministers.
In response to the request, the BUGB has begun a nationwide process of reflection on whether to change the rules for accredited ministers.
If approved, a minister in a same-sex marriage would no longer be committing gross misconduct and lose their accreditation.
The national conversation is being led by the Baptist Union Council, which is responsible for approving changes to the Ministerial Recognition Rules.
"Council is very aware of the significance of any possible change and is committed to creating a process that considers and responds to this question in a way that reflects the whole of our Baptist movement," said BUGB General Secretary, Rev Lynn Green.
The BUGB leadership has decided against committing to an exact deadline for a decision on the request.
Rev Green admitted that "because we love and respect one another and our differing convictions, there is no easy way forward".
She appealed for "humility" and unity during the process of reflection.
"[The Core Leadership Team] are unanimous in our absolute commitment to our 'unity in Christ' and to holding together with the pain 'in the presence of the Lord'," she said.
"We are also in agreement that we must not rush ahead as we seek a way forward. We believe that any decision that is ultimately made must be prayerfully and carefully discerned, involving significant consultation.
"Much thought needs to be given to the implications of various possible options. We are acutely aware that the 'stakes are high'."
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