United Methodist News writer Heather Hahn details how the latest Judicial Council ruling will have far reaching effects beyond the homosexual bishop currently serving the Mountain Sky Area of the Western Jurisdiction. Click here to read Heather’s complete article.
The Reverend Keith Boyette, president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and the lawyer that spoke to the Judicial Council during their recent session, provides further insight into the meaning of the recent Judicial Council ruling. To quote Rev. Boyette, ‘. . . a cloud covers her episcopacy and the cavalier way in which she was nominated by her annual conference, elected by the Western Jurisdictional Conference, consecrated by her fellow bishops and assigned by the jurisdiction’s committee on episcopacy. The manner in which these bodies have dealt with the requirements of The Book of Discipline has caused great harm to the church.’ Click here to read Rev. Boyette’s complete article.
Following the recent rulings from the Judicial Council, the ruling related to the nomination, election, and consecration of a homosexual bishop has taken front page. There were several other significant rulings issued which affirm the Book of Discipline‘s place within the church. Walter Fenton and Thomas Lambrecht write about these other rulings. Click here to read their complete articles.
Thomas Lambrecht, a United Methodist elder, and member of the ‘The Commission On The Way Forward’ has provided information on their second meeting. Here is a link to the complete article.
One particular section of his meeting update came from church historian Russell Richey:
We also heard from church historian Russell Richey, who described for us the history of separation and disunity in the Methodist Church from its founding. According to Richey, in every decade from 1780 to 1890 the church experienced a structural separation or division of some kind. Each one led to increased growth and vitality in the separate bodies (for the most part), rather than leading to decline. From 1890 on, however, the emphasis shifted to church unity, with two major mergers. Division within the church did not end during those years, but was expressed through the formation of caucuses and other interest groups advocating for a point of view within the church, rather than some form of structural separation. The inward focus of mergers and in-fighting, however, has led to continual decline since the 1960s.
Carolyn Moore wrote a good article summarizing the 5 key points as put forth by the Wesleyan Covenant Association.
She writes, ‘The obvious fact is that the UMC is in crisis but we all know that for imaginative people, a crisis is an opportunity in disguise. What opportunity does this crisis provide our faith tradition? What kind of renewal could rise from the ashes? If the UMC is heading for a significant change anyway (and it is), what would we want to emerge on the other side?’
Here is a link to her complete article.
Retired Bishop Michael Coyner, from Indiana, has written a 10 point article titles ‘Before we seek ‘A Way Forward’…We should remember how we got here’. Here is a link to the complete article.
This article briefly covers Bishop Coyner’s reasons for growth trends, splits & unity, moving from mobile clerics to settled privileged educators, and a lack of clear mission.
His item #10, We have allowed, and some leaders (including some bishops) have encouraged, loyalties to various constituencies and caucus groups to supersede loyalty to the UMC and faithfulness to Christ, is the most telling of all the points. No organization will survive without clear and focused leadership, and the United Methodist Church has no clear focused leadership.
The United Methodist News Service’s article about the Asbury United Methodist Church west campus voting to withdraw from the Asbury Church in Wichita, the Great Plains Conference and the United Methodist denomination is quite interesting, but it does not, unfortunately, provide clear reasons for the separation. Here is the complete article.
Heather Hahn, from the United Methodist News Service, wrote a excellent article titled Scholars raise doubts about church’s future!. Here is a link to the complete article.
Heather’s article focused on a meeting, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, titled Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.
The meeting brought together scholars from across the theological spectrum, from three countries, and included 8 members from the United Methodist Commission on the Way Forward.
The article covered the topic of human sexuality from several different angles, but one particular comment was particularly telling,
‘The Rev. Christopher H. Evans, professor of History of Christianity and Methodist Studies at Boston University School of Theology, told the group that they were dealing with questions he had heard since his seminary days in the 1980s.’
Transforming Congregations just posted an interesting article that covers several topics: Glitter Ash Wednesday, Sexual Fluidity, and extending God’s love to those in search of His salvation.
Here is the complete Transforming Congregation article.
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, French writer and editor, is credited with the old saw, ‘the more things change the more they stay the same.’
Rob Refroe, president of Good News, reprinted a column by the first president of Good News.
Yes, the more things change the more they stay the same.
The United Methodist Church Judicial Council will meet at the end of April to rule on the Western Jurisdiction’s election of a practicing homosexual bishop and appointment of that bishop to the Big Sky Area.
Here is a link to the request for a declaratory decision on the appointment, the request for an expedited decision, and a statement on placing the ruling on the April docket.
Here are the specific paragraphs referenced in the original request:
- Paragraph 304.3: While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.
- Paragraph 310.2.d(3): The General Conference, in response to expressions through out the Church regarding homosexuality and ordination reaffirms the present language of the Discipline regarding the character and commitment of persons seeking ordination and affirms its high standards.
- Paragraph 341.6: Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.
- Paragraph 2702.1.a: Chargeable Offense – immorality including but not limited to, not being celibate in singleness or not faithful in a heterosexual marriage.
- Paragraph 2702.1.b: Chargeable Offense – practices declared by The United Methodist Church to incompatible with Christian teachings, including but not limited to: being a self-avowed practicing homosexual; or conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies.
- Paragraph 2702.1.d: Chargeable Offense – disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church.
April will be here before we know it; don’t forget to sign the petition issued by the Methodist Crossroads.
If you would like to write your own letter to the Judicial Council, here is the mailing address and names for each of the members.