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“The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all.” (¶161F, The Book of Discipline—2008)

A recent MethodistThinker post (“Defying denomination, UM church in D.C. offers to perform same-sex weddings”) elicited responses from several readers who argued that the United Methodist Church should embrace, affirm, and celebrate homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage.

For nearly 40 years, the denomination has specifically, consistently, and overwhelming rejected this view.

Acting through legislation debated and adopted by the General Conference, the United Methodist Church has characterized male-male and female-female sexual relations as being “incompatible with Christian teaching,” i.e., at odds with the historic teaching of the Christian church rooted in revelation from God, articulated by the apostles and church fathers, and handed down through the ages.

This precept of abiding by “received teaching” on homosexual practice is prominent in several essays in Staying the Course: Supporting the Church’s Position on Homosexuality (Abingdon Press, 2003).

Following are brief excerpts from three of the book’s 17 essays.

From “The Church’s Teaching on Sexuality” by William J. Abraham (Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Perkins School of Theology, SMU):

On the matter [of homosexuality], conservatives are both tenacious and urgent. This is not accidental.

Dr. Billy Abraham

They are tenacious because the position they hold is not just a matter of human judgment or opinion. It is construed as the teaching of our Lord in divine revelation.

They are urgent because they believe that the rejection of divine revelation involves the unraveling of the fabric of faith and the radical undermining of the canonical commitments of The United Methodist Church. For better or worse, they foresee chaos and division if the position of the Book of Discipline were [to be] revised….

[W]hat is at stake are the foundations of the Church in the Word of God and the place of The United Methodist Church within the church catholic and apostolic.

From “Contentious Conversations” by Joy Moore (now associate dean of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School):

At issue is…what standards of morality exist for the community called to biblical holiness. Neither polls nor political votes [determine] categories or sin. The identification [of a certain percentage] of the population [with a particular sexual expression] is no reason to change moral standards.

Dr. Joy Moore

Alternative expressions, against which Christian behavior will appear countercultural, will always exist. Even if the culture at large is changing, Christianity is not mandated to alter its identity such that it can no longer be distinguished from the larger society….

Traditionally, “sin” referred to a rebellious spirit, intentional insubordination resulting in separation from God the Creator; [from] humanity; and, for all intended purposes, [from] creation itself. In contrast, pro-homosexual advocates view the church’s greatest sin as its refusal to accept those who are different….

This view holds that homosexual practice merely represents an alternative lifestyle, not a biblical transgression. The Church is asked to do more than allow for alternative practice: Pro-homosexual activists desire affirmation, not just understanding and leniency.

From “The Real Disagreement” by Elizabeth Moreau (an elder in the Texas Annual Conference and author of I Believe… Something! The Ancient Faith Speaks to Today’s Church — Xulon Press, 2009):

The biblical witness is uniform in its rejection of homosexuality…. Therefore, the entire debate surrounding homosexuality focuses on whether that biblical teaching can be normative for this generation of Christians….

Elizabeth Moreau

The counterclaim [to official UM doctrine] that homosexuality is compatible with Christian teaching challenges the truth of divine revelation…. [It is] to receive the Scripture in a manner at odds with the interpretation of every other branch of the church of Jesus Christ….

[This novel] approach to biblical interpretation… implies a sort of modern-day gnosticism, in which secret or special knowledge is required to understand the Scriptures and, therefore, to encounter and know God.

If we take seriously the notion of human sin, then we finally cannot allow human knowledge and experience to judge divine revelation; rather, divine revelation judges human knowledge and experience. The role of Scripture is to take human experiences of sin, darkness, and death, and through the light of revelation, bring human beings to the fullness of life in Jesus Christ….

If it is necessary to abandon the authoritative teaching of the Bible, then we have little to offer the homosexual community, and everyone else for that matter. When we dismiss the Bible’s portrayal of sin, we must also discard the promises of new life and transformation found in the Bible….

If we now abandon the gospel of the Scriptures to accommodate cultural preferences, then we do not have the gospel of Jesus Christ, at least not a gospel recognizable to the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us.

In short, changing The United Methodist Church’s position on homosexuality is like pulling a thread, which then unravels the whole fabric….

What is at stake in the debate over homosexuality is what one believes Jesus Christ has to offer homosexual individuals, indeed all individuals…. That is why the debate is so ferocious and the conflict so relentless.

The issue is not merely homosexuality; homosexuality is the starting point for a debate over the content of the Christian faith.

Staying the Course: Supporting the Church’s Position on Homosexuality also features essays by, among others, Leicester Longden, Richard B. Hays, Thomas C. Oden, and Maxie Dunnam. The table of contents is here.

The book is available from Cokesbury and Barnes and Noble.


Related posts
Defying denomination, UM church in D.C. offers to perform same-sex weddings
Judicial Council overturns bishop’s ruling on sexuality statement
Board of Church and Society sex-ed writer: Sex outside of marriage can be ‘moral, ethical’
Maxie Dunnam: Amendments outcome reflects ‘sense of the faithful’
Transforming Congregations to merge with Exodus International
Sexuality resolution not at variance with Discipline, bishop rules
In Mississippi Conference, testimony from lesbian couple stirs controversy
Judicial Council says no to same-sex marriage
Billy Abraham on United Methodism: ‘There is no common faith among us’
Bill Bouknight: The good news from General Conference ’08
Joe Whittemore: ‘Enough is enough’
Bishop Lindsey Davis speaks to the Confessing Movement

Related information
United Methodists uphold homosexuality stance | United Methodist News Service; Good News Information Service, Good News magazine (May/June 2008)
How churches can refine message on homosexuality | Robin Russell, United Methodist Reporter (May 19, 2008)
What the evidence really says about Scripture and homosexual practice: Five issues (PDF) | Robert A. J. Gagnon (March 2009)
Judicial Council Decision 1032 and ecclesiology (PDF) | William J. Abraham, General Board of Higher Education & Ministry Consultation on Decision 1032 (February 2007)
Methodists strengthen stand against homosexual practice | Christianity Today (May 5, 2004)
Debate at the 2004 General Conference on various legislation related to homosexuality (includes audio) | 2004 General Conference Archive
Resources list: Ministry for and with homosexual persons (requested by the UMC’s 2004 General Conference) (PDF) | United Methodist Publishing House
Homosexuality and the Great Commandment (an address to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh) | Peter C. Moore (November 2002)

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Hours after a new law permitting homosexual marriage took effect in Washington, D.C., the oldest United Methodist church in the District issued a news release stating its intent to “celebrate same-sex weddings,” defying General Conference actions and Judicial Council rulings that expressly prohibit such ceremonies.

Dumbarton UMC in Washington, D.C.

The offer to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples came from Dumbarton UMC, a Georgetown congregation described in the 1998 book, Many Witnesses: A History of Dumbarton United Methodist Church, as having a “well-earned reputation for radicalism.”

The church has identified itself as a homosexuality-approving “Reconciling Congregation” since 1987. In 1990, UM Bishop Joseph H. Yeakel, then bishop of the Washington Area, intervened to stop a homosexual wedding scheduled at Dumbarton.

According to United Methodist Book of Discipline (¶341.6), “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.” That language, approved by the 1996 General Conference, was retained by 2008 General Conference by an almost two-thirds vote (65%-35%). In 2004, the General Conference made clear that conducting such ceremonies is a chargeable offense.

Just last year, the UM Judicial Council ruled that United Methodist clergy, even if retired, may not perform wedding ceremonies uniting two people of the same sex, even in states or jurisdictions where such unions have been declared legal.

Dumbarton’s public pledge to violate United Methodist rules barring same-sex unions followed a unanimous vote last month by the congregation’s church council. As the likely date for legalization of homosexual marriage in D.C. drew near, the Dumbarton council voted 28-0 “to honor and celebrate the wedding of any couple, licensed in the District of Columbia, who seek to commit their lives to one another in marriage.”

Mary Kay Totty

The Rev. Mary Kay Totty, pastor of Dumbarton UMC, and “12 other ordained clergy who attend Dumbarton” will make themselves available to conduct same-sex weddings, according the news release issued by the church. The 12 other clergy were not named.

“We celebrate love and loyalty wherever it is found,” Totty said in the release.

A convener for the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of the liberal Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), Mary Kay Totty was appointed to Dumbarton last year after serving several UM churches in Maryland.

MFSA, an unofficial network of clergy and laity founded in 1907, urges its members to “be  involved in the transformation of the social order.”

According to the Baltimore-Washington Conference web site, Dumbarton UMC has an average worship attendance of about 90.

In a post on the Reconciling Ministries Network blog, Anne Thompson Cook, a Dumbarton member and a founding board member of the Reconciling Ministries Network, echoed the church’s commitment to act counter to denominational policy.

As DC’s law granting marriage equality goes into effect…Dumbarton UMC is ready…. Our new [Marriage Equality Statement] (PDF) updates a statement we created nearly 20 years ago on holy unions. Then, as now, we deplored legal and church condemnations of same-sex committed relationships and declared that we would treat all couples equally.

At that time, when [Bishop Yeakel] read of our intentions in a Washington Post article, he was furious and called the entire church council into his office. Of all the things that were said that day, I will never forget him saying this: Same-sex marriage isn’t recognized in civil law! You can’t participate in something that’s not recognized in civil law!

Well, today — in the District of Columbia — same-sex marriage is recognized in civil law, and we celebrate this new step on the long road to full justice and equality for all.

Legalization of homosexual marriage in the District of Columbia was approved by the D.C. City Council late last year after the council rebuffed citizen demands for a referendum on the issue. Local courts also turned back calls for a voter referendum.

A Washington Post poll conducted in late January found that 59 percent of D.C. voters, including 70 percent of black voters, wanted the same-sex marriage issue put to a city-wide vote, rather than being decided by the City Council.

In 2009, Dumbarton UMC was one of seven churches that sponsored a resolution on human sexuality that was approved by the Baltimore-Washington Conference but was later overturned by the United Methodist Judicial Council.

The Council ruled that the resolution, which said United Methodists are “divided regarding homosexual expressions of human sexuality,” effectively “negated the church’s clearly stated position.”

bwarmAll seven congregations that sponsored the resolution are affiliated with Baltimore-Washington Area Reconciling United Methodists, a group that “seek[s] to affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and ensure the full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the ministry and life of the United Methodist Church, particularly in the Baltimore-Washington Conference.”

In 2008, one of the seven churches, D.C.’s Foundry UMC, began “recogniz[ing] same-sex unions in special ceremonies that fall just short of an official wedding,” according to a United Methodist News Service report.

Timeline: The UMC and homosexual unions

  • 1972— The General Conference amends the Social Principles in the UM Book of Discipline to include the following: “We do not recommend marriage between two persons of the same sex.”
  • 1976 — The General Conference strengthens its opposition to homosexual marriage, again in the Social Principles, with this language: “We do not recognize a relationship between two persons of the same sex as constituting marriage.”
  • 1980 — The General Conference alters the Social Principles statement to read: “We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant, which is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman.”
  • 1996 — The General Conference adopts a statement prohibiting UM clergy participation in homosexual-union ceremonies: “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”
  • 1998 — The UM Judicial Council rules that clergy who conduct homosexual-union ceremonies can be brought to church trial.
  • 2000 — In the California-Nevada Conference, a conference Committee on Investigation for Clergy Members decides that a group of 67 clergy members will not be brought to trial for their role in celebrating a same-sex union service.
  • 2000 — Delegates to the General Conference vote overwhelmingly (69%-31%) to move the sentence prohibiting UM clergy from conducting homosexual unions from the Social Principles section of the Discipline to a section on the Ministry of the Ordained (¶341).
  • 2004 — The General Conference amends ¶2702 in the Book of Discipline to clarify language related to chargeable clergy offenses, adding that “conducting ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions” and “performing same-sex wedding ceremonies” are both chargeable offenses.
  • 2008 — The General Conference votes to retain the ¶2702 language adopted in 2004.
  • 2009 — The UM Judicial Council rules that United Methodist clergy, even if retired, may not perform wedding ceremonies uniting two people of the same sex, even in states or jurisdictions where such unions have been declared legal.

Related posts
Judicial Council overturns bishop’s ruling on sexuality statement
Transforming Congregations to merge with Exodus International
Sexuality resolution not at variance with Discipline, bishop rules
In Mississippi Conference, testimony from lesbian couple stirs controversy
Judicial Council says no to same-sex marriage
Bill Bouknight: The good news from General Conference ’08
Joe Whittemore: ‘Enough is enough’
Bishop Lindsey Davis speaks to the Confessing Movement

Related information
United Methodist congregation to celebrate same-sex weddings | PR Newswire (March 3, 2010)
Declaration of Religious Support for Marriage Equality | District of Columbia Clergy United for Marriage Equality (June 2009)
Pastors defy United Methodist officials to conduct gay weddings | Los Angeles Times (July 17, 2008)
United Methodists uphold homosexuality stance | United Methodist News Service; Good News Information Service, Good News magazine (May/June 2008)
How churches can refine message on homosexuality | Robin Russell, United Methodist Reporter (May 19, 2008)
What the evidence really says about Scripture and homosexual practice: Five issues (PDF) | Robert A. J. Gagnon (March 2009)
D.C.’s Foundry Church will honor same-sex unions | Robin Russell, United Methodist News Service (March 11, 2008)
Methodists strengthen stand against homosexual practice | Christianity Today (May 5, 2004)
Debate at the 2004 General Conference on various legislation related to homosexuality (includes audio) | 2004 General Conference Archive
Resources list: Ministry for and with homosexual persons (requested by the UMC’s 2004 General Conference) (PDF) | United Methodist Publishing House
United Methodist pastor suspended indefinitely for performing ‘holy union’ ceremony for two homosexuals | Christianity Today (April 26, 1999)
Letter to The Washington Blade: ‘We are ashamed of our denomination, our bishops and our Judicial Council’ | Dumbarton United Methodist Church (Aug. 26, 1998)
United Methodist Judicial Council acts against homosexual unions | Gustav Niebuhr, The New York Times (Aug. 12, 1998)
General Conference says ‘no’ to marriage-like ceremonies for same-sex couples | Garlinda Burton, United Methodist News Service (April 26, 1996)
In United Methodist Church and elsewhere, same-sex unions done in private | George Cornell, The Associated Press (Aug. 10, 1990)
Rift over a rite: UM bishop stops same-sex union ceremony scheduled at Dumbarton UMC in D.C. | The New York Times (June 2, 1990)
United Methodist church in D.C. to wed two lesbians | L.A. Times/Washington Post News Service (May 13, 1990)

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The United Methodist Judicial Council, reversing a decision by Bishop John Schol, has ruled that a resolution passed this earlier this year by the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference is at odds with the United Methodist Book of Discipline‘s official teaching on human sexuality.

bishop-john-schol

Bishop John Schol
(UMNS photo)

The resolution, which mirrored legislation rejected by the 2008 General Conference, said that United Methodists “have been and remain divided regarding homosexual expressions of human sexuality.”

However, the official church teaching of the United Methodist Church, approved by the General Conference and included in ¶161F of the 2008 Book of Discipline, clearly states that the UMC “does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider[s] this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Further, the Discipline language notes that “sexual relations are affirmed only within the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.”

In its ruling (Decision 1120), the Judicial Council, the denomination’s highest court, wrote that the “effect of the Baltimore-Washington resolution is to negate the church’s clearly stated position.” Moreover, “the Baltimore–Washington resolution attempts to articulate a new and different standard of church belief using language that has been specifically rejected by the General Conference.”

The Council ruled that an annual conference “may not negate, ignore or violate” the Book of Discipline, “even when the disagreements are based upon conscientious objections.”

A report from the United Methodist News Service offers additional background:

In previous decisions, the council had determined [that] statements of beliefs on sexuality from the Desert Southwest [Decision 913] and Pacific Northwest [Decision 1021] conferences — and even an earlier Baltimore-Washington resolution calling for inclusive behavior in the acceptance of congregational members [Memorandum 1044] — were permissible because they did not negate, ignore or violate the Discipline.

But a California-Nevada resolution directing the conference to distribute a list of retired clergy willing to perform same-sex union ceremonies was considered an endorsement of actions prohibited by the Discipline [Decision 1111].

Applying guiding principles from such previous decisions, the Judicial Council found that the Baltimore-Washington statement’s claim to communicate a “more authentic and truthful representation” of the church implies the denomination’s position is less than authentic.

The Baltimore-Washington resolution voided by the Judicial Council was sponsored by seven churches — three in Maryland and four in Washington, D.C. — aligned with Baltimore-Washington Area Reconciling United Methodists.

bwarmThe group “seek[s] to affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and ensure the full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the ministry and life of the United Methodist Church, particularly in the Baltimore-Washington Conference.”

The Maryland churches are Emmanuel UMC in Laurel, Christ UMC in Columbia, and St. John’s UMC in Baltimore. The D.C. congregations are Capitol Hill UMC, Wesley UMC, Dumbarton UMC, and Foundry UMC.

In 2008, one of the seven churches, D.C.’s Foundry UMC, began “recogniz[ing] same-sex unions in special ceremonies that fall just short of an official wedding,” according to a account from the United Methodist News Service.

In other rulings, the Judicial Council affirmed a decision by Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster that a five-year-old Western North Carolina Conference plan that gave local churches leeway in choosing which conference and general church funding requests to pay is in violation of ¶247.14 of the Book of Discipline.

Quoting the Discipline, the Council noted that payment in full of “apportioned” items is “the first benevolent responsibility of the church” (Decision 1121).

In a matter arising from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, the Judicial Council agreed that a retired elder is allowed serve as chair of a local church Finance Committee (Decision 1126).

In a case from the California-Nevada Conference, the Judicial Council upheld Bishop Warner H. Brown’s ruling that an annual conference is allowed to set the retirement-pay rate for retired clergy as long as it does not reduce compensation. The case stemmed from a conference decision to forestall an “automatic” 2 percent annual increase for retired pastors (Decision 1141).

Below is a United Methodist News Service summary of several additional rulings.

The Judicial Council:

  • Ruled the secretary of the General Conference has the authority to determine the number of delegates that each annual and missionary conference will elect to the General Conference within the provisions of the Constitution and the legislative enactments of the General Conference.
  • Affirmed the ruling of Bishop Jonathan Keaton that a request for a decision of law in the Detroit Annual Conference regarding identifying local church membership in the Reconciling Ministries Network was “moot, hypothetical and improper.”
  • Found that the Louisiana Annual Conference did not violate the Discipline by establishing clergy compensation before knowing the cost of health insurance premiums because such a cost is a benefit, not compensation.
  • Upheld a decision by Bishop Mary Ann Swenson regarding implementation of the California-Pacific Conference’s Annual Conference’s Clergy Benefit Charge to cover the costs of the health premiums for retired and incapacitated clergy.

The nine-member Judicial Council met last week in Durham, North Carolina. Current members and alternates are listed in this post.

Members of the Council are elected by the United Methodist General Conference.


Related posts
UM Judicial Council to rule on sexuality resolution, apportionments
Sexuality resolution not at variance with Discipline, bishop rules
In Mississippi Conference, testimony from lesbian couple stirs controversy
Bill Bouknight: The good news from General Conference ‘08
Joe Whittemore: ‘Enough is enough’
UM Judicial Council says no to same-sex marriage
Maxie Dunnam, Eddie Fox release videos on proposed amendments

Related articles and information
Archive of rulings by the United Methodist Judicial Council | UMC.org
Despite strong pressure to approve same-sex pairings, UMC has held firm: homosexual activity is ‘incompatible with Christian teaching’ | Linda Bloom, United Methodist News Service (Nov. 4, 2009)
Judicial Council voids sexuality statement | Linda Bloom, United Methodist News Service (Nov. 2, 2009)
Top court rules on financial, clergy issues | Linda Bloom, United Methodist News Service (Nov. 2, 2009)
United Methodists uphold homosexuality stance | United Methodist News Service; Good News Information Service, Good News magazine (May/June 2008)
Slavery, homosexuality, and not being of one mind | Riley B. Case, via The Sundry Times (July 1, 2008)
D.C. Foundry church will honor same-sex unions | Robin Russell, United Methodist News Service (March 11, 2008)
What the evidence really says about Scripture and homosexual practice: Five issues (PDF) | Robert A. J. Gagnon (March 2009)
How churches can refine message on homosexuality | Robin Russell, United Methodist Reporter (May 19, 2008)
Resources list: Ministry for and with homosexual persons (requested by the UMC’s 2004 General Conference (PDF) | United Methodist Publishing House
Book: Staying the Course: Supporting the [United Methodist] Church’s Position on Homosexuality | Abingdon Press (2003)
Homosexuality and the Great Commandment (an address to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh) | Peter C. Moore (November 2002)

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A statement on sexuality approved by the Baltimore-Washington Conference and a Western North Carolina Conference plan allowing flexibility in the payment of apportionments will go before the United Methodist Judicial Council this week. The two cases are among 21 items the denomination’s highest court will consider when it meets for its fall session starting Wednesday.

judicial_councilThe sexuality case stems from a resolution passed by the 2009 session of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference that mirrors a resolution rejected last year by the United Methodist General Conference. The Baltimore-Washington resolution also uses language from ¶161G of the 2004 United Methodist Book of Discipline, language that was superseded by action of the last year’s General Conference.

Delegates to 2008 General Conference rejected proposed language suggesting that the church has no clear teaching on homosexual relations. Further, the delegates strengthened language on sexual activity outside the bond of marriage, noting that “sexual relations are affirmed only within the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage” (now in ¶161F of the United Methodist Book of Discipline, 2008). The UM General Conference, which meets once every four years, is only body empowered to speak for the entire denomination.

The Baltimore-Washington resolution, similar in language to the legislation rejected by 2008 General Conference, noted that the “we have been and remain divided regarding homosexual expressions of human sexuality.” The Rev. Charles Harrell, pastor of Trinity UMC in Prince Frederick, Md., asked Bishop John Schol to determine whether the resolution “establishes a new and different standard on sexuality from the Discipline.”

Bishop Schol, who was elected to the episcopacy in 2004 and has served the Baltimore-Washington Conference since then, ruled (PDF) that the resolution neither “contradicts the Discipline [n]or establishes a new and different standard on sexuality from the Discipline.”

Under United Methodist legal procedure, a bishop’s “decision of law” is automatically appealed to the Judicial Council.

The apportionments case involves a 2004 vote by the Western North Carolina Conference to institute “Choice Empowerment,” a plan that allowed local churches to have greater leeway in responding to conference and general church funding requests.

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster

A 2006 “Stewardship of Managing Report” (PDF) presented to the Western North Carolina Conference noted that Choice Empowerment had “begun to assist local congregations in prioritizing their giving. While giving for apportionments remains flat, much more money has been given through Advance Specials and local missions given directly by local congregations…. [M]ore congregations are providing more total money for missions than ever before.”

Still, questions lingered about the “validity” of the Choice Empowerment program, leading to a request from the conference’s Council on Finance and Administration for a bishop’s ruling on the matter.

Bishop Larry Goodpaster, who assumed leadership of the Western North Carolina Conference in September 2008, ruled that the five-year-old “choice” plan violates the Book of Discipline.

“For an annual conference to adopt a policy that gives permission to local churches to choose not to pay, or to choose to shift payments from one item to another, is a violation of the letter and spirit of our church law,” Bishop Goodpaster wrote. He noted that ¶247.14 states that “[p]ayment in full of these apportionments by local churches is the first benevolent responsibility of the church.”

As with the case mentioned above, a bishop’s “decision of law” is automatically appealed to the Judicial Council.

Below is a roundup of other items on the Judicial Council’s current docket, as summarized by the United Methodist News Service.

An item from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference raises the issue of whether retired pastors should [be allowed to] serve in local church positions usually allocated to lay people. A retired pastor who had been chairperson of a local church finance committee since 2002 was told in the fall of 2008 that his occupying that position violated the Discipline….

The UM Judicial Council, meeting in April 2009

The UM Judicial Council — April 2009

When the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference met in 2009, the members adopted a resolution requesting that the Judicial Council make a declaratory decision on the matter because there are retired clergy serving as chairpersons of local church finance committees across the connection….

In another sexuality matter, the council will review a Detroit Conference decision concerning the Reconciling Ministries Network, an unofficial organization promoting the full participation of people of all sexual orientations in The United Methodist Church.

During the conference session, an individual asked a question about local churches identifying themselves as reconciling congregations. Bishop Jonathan Keaton ruled that he was not going to address the question because the matter did not deal with conference business….

Other docket items include a question about the legality of the Northwest Texas Conference’s vote on constitutional amendments; a ruling regarding adjustments in the number of delegates to the denomination’s General Conference and a decision about pension rates for retired clergy in the California-Nevada Conference.

The nine-member Judicial Council will meet Wednesday through Saturday in Durham, North Carolina. Current members and alternates are listed in this post.

Members of the Council are elected by the United Methodist General Conference.

All 21 docket items for the fall 2009 session are listed below.

Automatic review of decisions by bishops
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster of the Western North Carolina Conference as to whether the “Choice Empowerment” apportionment paradigm adopted in 2004 and still in effect in the annual conference is in violation of ¶247.14.
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop John R. Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Conference as to whether a resolution on human sexuality was properly before the conference in light of ¶161F.
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton of the Detroit Conference regarding the Reconciling Ministries Network.
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of the California-Pacific Conference related to conference clergy benefit charge.
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop John R. Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Conference regarding the authority of “adventure guides” who are not elders to conduct local church or charge conferences in light of ¶246.5.
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Conference regarding retirement incentives utilizing pension reserve in light of ¶613.1.
  • Review of a decision of law of Bishop Jeremiah J. Park of the New York Conference related to a request for a decision on legality of a resolution supporting persons who dissent from the Discipline.
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton of the West Michigan Conference regarding adoption of a master group program for insuring all churches in the conference.
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. of the California-Nevada Annual Conference as to whether or not ¶1506.7 permits the annual conference to adopt a past-service annuity rate that remains the same from one year to the next.
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop William W. Hutchinson of the Louisiana Conference as to whether ¶247.13 is violated by the practice of the setting of clergy compensation by the Charge Conference prior to knowing the exact amount of the annual health insurance program.
  • Review of a decision of law by Bishop Susan Hassinger of the Wyoming Conference related to provisions for voluntary retirement.
  • Review of decisions of law by Bishop Elaine J. Stanovsky of the Rocky Mountain Conference related to return to conference membership after resignation from the episcopacy.
  • Review of decisions of law by Bishop Elaine J. Stanovsky of the Yellowstone Conference regarding clergy withdrawal between sessions of annual conference.
  • Review of decision of Bishop D. Max Whitfield of the Northwest Texas Conference regarding the legality of the Annual Conference’s vote on constitutional amendments.
Requested decisions
  • Request for a declaratory decision from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference as to whether a retired elder in full connection can serve as chairperson of a local church committee on finance.
  • Request for a declaratory decision from the Commission on the General Conference on the meaning, effect and application of ¶13 of the Constitution as it relates to ¶502.3E in determining any restrictions on the degree of adjustment in number of delegates to be made by the secretary of the General Conference.
  • Request for a declaratory decision from the Minnesota Conference related to meaning, effect and application of Section II, Article IV.2 and Section VI, Article I of the Constitution as they apply to ¶316.6 and ¶327.2 and the prohibition of local pastors and provisional members voting on constitutional amendments.
  • Request for a declaratory decision from the Baltimore-Washington Conference on the meaning, effect and application of ¶354 and ¶355 in determining if the bishop, cabinet, conference relations committee or board of ordained ministry can put requirements on an individual who is granted voluntary leave of absence.
  • Request for a declaratory decision from the Virginia Conference as to the meaning, application and effect of ¶639, ¶1505 and ¶1506 with respect to sponsorship and administration of the Ministerial Pension Plan.
  • Request for a declaratory decision from the Wyoming Conference regarding the complaint process with reference to ¶361, ¶362 and ¶2701.2D.
  • Request from the Western North Carolina Conference to determine the legality of a clergy couple housing policy adopted by the Annual Conference.

Related posts
Sexuality resolution not at variance with Discipline, bishop rules
Judicial Council says no to same-sex marriage, OKs Bush Center at SMU
Judicial Council sends controversial cases back to conferences
Bill Bouknight: The good news from General Conference ’08
Bill Bouknight: The bad news from General Conference ’08

Related articles and information
Church court to address apportionments, sexuality | Linda Bloom, United Methodist News Service (Oct. 23, 2009)
Apportionment payment choice on lengthy Judicial Council docket | Kathy Noble, Interpreter magazine (September/October 2009)
Rules of Practice and Procedure | The United Methodist Judicial Council (Revised October 2004)
Ruling of Law — 2009 (PDF) | Bishop John R. Schol, Baltimore-Washington Conference
Decision rendered on ‘Choice Empowerment’ | Bishop Larry Goodpaster, Western North Carolina Conference (July 22, 2009)
Bishop Huie submits Rule of Law decision to Judicial Council | Eleanor Colvin, Communications Director, Texas Annual Conference
Bishop’s Ruling of Law concerning ¶613.1 and the Texas Annual Conference Early Retirement Incentive Program (PDF—65 pages) | Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, Texas Annual Conference (June 24, 2009)
A brief filed in response to Bishop Huie’s decision that a request for a ruling of law on the policy of offering retirement incentives using funds from the Texas Annual Conference’s Pension Reserve was ‘not germane to the business of the Annual Conference’ (PDF) | James W. Foster, Elder, Texas Annual Conference
Response to the brief of Rev. James W. Foster (PDF) | Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, Texas Annual Conference (Aug. 20, 2009)

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The July/August issue of Good News magazine features many words of appreciation (from bishops, professors, pastors, and lay people) for the Rev. Dr. James V. Heidinger II, who retired this week after 28 years of leading United Methodism’s flagship renewal ministry.

James V. Heidinger II

James V. Heidinger II

He is variously described as “cheerful,” “passionate,” “gracious,” “patient,” “humble,” “sensitive,” “thoughtful,” “truthful,” and “motivated by the love of Christ.”

One writer, Dr. Bill Bouknight of the Confessing Movement, noted that Jim Heidinger “illustrates what it means to contend for the faith without being contentious.”

The July/August Good News republishes three of Dr. Heidinger’s columns (out of more than 170 written over the years), selected by the magazine’s long-time editor Steve Beard: “Remaining United Methodist” (from 1982), “The Legacy of Theological Liberalism” (from 1990), and “The Road to Emmaus” (from 1983).

In addition to his writing, James Heidinger has made himself available as a spokesman for evangelical concerns within the UMC and the larger mainline Church. He has often been called on to explain and defend the Church’s standards relating to homosexuality.

Use the audio and video players below to hear/see various interviews with Jim Heidinger, beginning with the 1984 General Conference in Baltimore.

It was in 1984 that General Conference delegates approved a clear guideline aimed at prohibiting non-celibate homosexual persons from being ordained to the United Methodist ministry. Dr. Heidinger was asked to comment on the General Conference’s action. (This 2:50 audio clip is from a UM Communications production narrated by Harry Johnson. Mr. Johnson is also the interviewer.)

Four years later, at the 1988 General Conference in St. Louis, UM Communications asked Jim Heidinger to comment on a failed attempt to overthrow the ordination restrictions passed in 1984 (the attempt was defeated by a better than two-thirds margin).

 

In March 2004, Dr. Heidinger discussed the Karen Dammann trial with host Todd Wilken on the radio program, Issues, Etc. (16:35).

Later in 2004, Mr. Heidinger was a guest on the Albert Mohler Program, talking about the Beth Stroud trial (8:55).

And in November 2005, Jim Heidinger again appeared on Issues, Etc., along with Mark Tooley of UM Action, to discuss rulings issued by the United Methodist Judicial Council at its Fall 2005 session. (17:35).

James Heidinger is a retired clergy member of the East Ohio Annual Conference. An Illinois native, he earned degrees from Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., and from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Theological-Malpracticeguarding-the-gospelDr. Heidinger’s books include United Methodist Renewal: What Will It Take? (Bristol Books, 1988), Theological Malpractice?: Essays in the Struggle for United Methodist Renewal (Bristol House, 2000), and Guarding the Gospel: Biblical Faith and the Future of United Methodism (Living Streams, 2007).

Jim Heidinger and his wife, Joanne, live in Nicholasville, Ky. They are members of the First United Methodist Church of Lexington, where Dr. Heidinger has taught an adult Sunday School class for many years.


Related articles and information
Much has changed since Jim Heidinger became a leader of UM evangelicals | Terry Mattingly, Scripps Howard News Service (July 9, 2009)
Reflections on passing the torch | James V. Heidinger II, Good News (May/June 2009)
Heidinger reflects on Good News leadership | Linda Bloom, United Methodist News Service (April 2, 2009)
Good News announces new leadership upon Heidinger retirement | Good News (March 12, 2009)
United Methodism in crisis: Scriptural renewal through the Good News Movement | Chapter 4 of Public Pulpits: Methodists and Mainline Churches in the Moral Argument of Public Life by Steven M. Tipton (University of Chicago Press, 2008 — via Google Books)
40 years of vision for United Methodist reformation and renewal (PDF) | James V. Heidinger II, Good News (November/December 2007)
An interview with the Rev. Dr. James V. Heidinger II | Katherine T. Phan, The Christian Post (Nov. 6, 2004)
Good News board honors Heidinger | Tim Tanton, United Methodist News Service (Feb. 13, 2003)
Coalition speaker Heidinger describes renewal ‘phenomenon’ | Evan Silverstein, PCUSA News (May 27, 2003)
Good News’ response to Cal/Nevada’s dismissal of complaints against 68 clergy involved in same-sex covenant | James V. Heidinger II on behalf of the Good News Board of Directors (Feb. 14, 2000)
Good News board urges bishops to preserve unity of church | United Methodist News Service (Feb. 2, 1999)
Good News celebration emphasizes revival and renewal | United Methodist News Service (July 1, 1997)
‘Good News’ says push to accept homosexual practice threatens to split United Methodist Church | United Methodist News Service (May 6, 1997)
Evangelical leaders from mainline denominations form new association; Heidinger named chairman | United Methodist News Service (Oct. 24, 1996)
‘Re-Imagining’ rejects historic Christianity | James V. Heidinger II, Good News (January/February 1994)
Mainline conservatives protest women’s ‘Re-Imagining’ conference | Carlton Elliott Smith, Religious News Service (Jan. 15, 1994—reprinted in the Feb. 16, 1994 issue of The Christian Century)
‘Durham Declaration’ asks for ‘Scriptural approach’ to abortion | United Methodist News Service (March 12, 1991)

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United Methodist clergy, even if retired, may not perform wedding ceremonies uniting two people of the same sex, even in states in which such unions have been declared legal, according to a ruling issued Monday by the United Methodist Judicial Council.

judicial_councilThat ruling (Decision 1111) stemmed from a resolution passed at the 2008 session of the California-Nevada Conference.

The resolution encouraged and commended retired United Methodist clergy who publicly offered to perform same-sex marriages, following a 4-3 ruling (PDF) by the California Supreme Court that legalized such unions. (That state court ruling was overturned by California voters in November).

Because the United Methodist Book of Discipline forbids UM clergy from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies (¶ 2702.1), Bishop Beverly Shamana, then-bishop of the California-Nevada Conference, ruled that the resolution was “void and of no effect.”

Under UM procedure, her ruling was automatically appealed to the Judicial Council.

“The Bishop’s decision of law is affirmed,” the Council ruled, noting that “[a]n annual conference may not negate, ignore, or violate provisions of the Discipline with which they [sic] disagree, even when the disagreements are based on conscientious objections to the provisions.”

The Judicial Council issued a related ruling in a case from the California-Pacific Conference (Memorandum 1115).

From a report by the United Methodist News Service:

[T]he council reversed California-Pacific Conference Bishop Mary Ann Swenson‘s ruling supporting a conference resolution recognizing “the pastoral need and prophetic authority of our clergy and congregations to offer the ministry of marriage ceremonies for same-gender couples.”

In a concurring opinion, Jon Gray and the Rev. Kathi Austin Mahle wrote “church law can only be made by the General Conference and cannot be achieved through piecemeal resolutions adopted in an annual conference session.”

In another ruling made during the Judicial Council’s spring session last week and issued Monday, the Council ruled that a decision by Southern Methodist University to lease property for the George W. Bush Presidential Center does not violate the United Methodist Book of Discipline (Decision 1113).

From reporter Neill Caldwell‘s account written for UMNS:

The United Methodist Church’s top court…ruled Southern Methodist University can lease campus property for the George W. Bush presidential library, museum and public policy institute….

Critics opposed to many policies of the Bush administration, including the war in Iraq, argued placing the institute on SMU property would be inconsistent with church teaching.

The Rev. Jeannie Trevino-Teddlie, director of the Mexican-American program at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, made the original request for a legal decision, contending the lease would subsidize “a specific political and ideological point of view.”

bush-centerOklahoma Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr. made an initial ruling last August that Trevino-Teddlie’s request did not relate to church law. The Judicial Council disagreed, saying the request “could have and should have been answered” as it relates to church law.

In its own review, the nine-member council said it found nothing in the lease agreement that violated the school’s Articles of Incorporation or the church’s Book of Discipline….

Throughout much of Bush’s two presidential terms, SMU lobbied to serve as host for the presidential center. Bush and his wife, Laura, are both United Methodists, and the former first lady is a graduate of SMU. In February 2008, the university and the Bush Foundation reached an agreement to bring the library to the Dallas campus….

Judicial Council member the Rev. William Lawrence, dean of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, recused himself from all proceedings of the case…

The presidential center, which is expected to be completed by 2014, will consist of a library that contains documents and artifacts of the Bush administration, a museum and a public policy institute.

The United Methodist Judicial Council chose not to rule in a case coming from the Alaska Conference (Memorandum 1118). The Conference had asked whether paragraphs 214 and 225 of the 2004 Book of Discipline are at odds with Article IV of the UM Constitution (paragraph 4 in the Book of Discipline). All three paragraphs deal with eligibility for church membership.

The Council said it did not have jurisdiction because the request for a declaratory decision did not directly relate to any action taken by a session of the Alaska Annual Conference(¶ 2610.2(j)).

The case stemmed from a 2005 Judicial Council ruling (Decision 1032) in which a Virginia pastor was found to be within his pastoral rights to refuse membership to a non-celibate homosexual man whom the pastor deemed unready to take vows related to repentance and discipleship. The Council ruled that a pastor has authority under the Book of Discipline to determine a layperson’s readiness for membership.

In a column commenting on the Alaska case, former Judicial Council member Keith Boyette noted that “[p]roponents of eliminating pastoral discretion obviously hoped that the change in the membership of the Judicial Council in the current quadrennium would result in the Council overruling Decision 1032. The declaratory request from the Alaska Annual Conference did not present a vehicle for them to achieve this goal. The Judicial Council properly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction.”


Related posts
UM Judicial Council convenes for Spring session
Judicial Council sends controversial cases back to conferences
Joe Whittemore: ‘Enough is enough’
John Ed Mathison: Seven concerns about the UMC
Bill Bouknight: The bad news from General Conference ‘08

Related articles and information
Judicial Council docket — April 22-25, 2009 (PDF)
Council rejects resolutions on same-sex marriages | Neill Caldwell, UM News Service (April 27, 2009)
Church court OKs lease for Bush library | Neill Caldwell, UM News Service (April 27, 2009)
Spring 2009 Judicial Council session avoids contentious decisions | Keith Boyette (former member of the UM Judicial Council, 2000-2008) — posted at The Methodist Reveille blog (April 29, 2009)
Court docket includes Bush library, same-sex unions | Neill Caldwell, UM News Service (Jan. 21, 2009)
United Methodists elect new Judicial Council candidates | Institute on Religion and Democracy (April 29, 2008)
Five new members are elected to Judicial Council | Neill Caldwell, UM News Service (April 28, 2008)
Angela Brown of Jones Memorial UMC, San Francisco, elected to UM Judicial Council | Bruce Pettit, California-Nevada News Service (April 28, 2008)
Reflections on the 2008 General Conference | Editorial, Good News magazine (May/June 2008)
The George W. Bush Presidential Center
SMU’s Bush Library page

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The United Methodist Judicial Council, opening its Spring session today in Denver, Colorado, will hear cases relating to homosexual “marriage” ceremonies, church membership, and the planned George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University. (See full docket here—PDF.) The Council is the denomination’s supreme court and rules on questions of constitutionality in church law and practice.

judicial_councilThe homosexual-marriage case stems from a resolution passed at the 2008 session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference. The resolution encouraged and commended retired United Methodist clergy who publicly offered to perform same-sex marriages, following a 4-3 ruling by the California Supreme Court that legalized such unions. (That state court ruling was subsequently overturned by California voters.)

Because the United Methodist Book of Discipline forbids UM clergy from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies (¶341.6, ¶2702.1), Bishop Beverly Shamana, then-bishop of the California-Nevada Conference, ruled that the resolution was “void and of no effect.”

“It is not within the power or prerogative of an annual conference to offer the services of its clergy to perform acts which the General Conference has declared to be chargeable offenses against the law of The United Methodist Church,” she wrote.

Under standard UM denominational procedure, her ruling was automatically appealed to the Judicial Council. Last October, the Judicial Council remanded the case to the secretary of the California-Nevada Conference because documentation related to the Conference’s action was incomplete.

“The record does not provide the minutes and the specific action of the Annual Conference,” the Council wrote. “Consequently, the submission fails to reflect facts sufficient to invoke the Judicial Council’s jurisdiction” (full text here).

The church membership case, originating in the Alaska Conference, asks whether paragraphs 214 and 225 of the 2004 Book of Discipline are at odds with Article IV of the UM Constitution.

Article IV (¶4) says that “[a]ll persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection.”

bod_04Paragraph 214 deals with membership eligibility; paragraph 225 governs the process of transferring membership to the United Methodist Church from another church or denomination.

In 2005, the Judicial Council ruled in Decision 1032 (full text) that “[p]aragraphs 214 and 225 are permissive and do not mandate receipt into membership of all persons regardless of their willingness to affirm membership vows.”

The Council ruled that the Book of Discipline invests the “pastor-in-charge” of a local church with the authority to determine “a person’s readiness to receive the vows of membership.” (Those vows include “renounc[ing] the spiritual forces of wickedness,” “repent[ing] of sin,” “confess[ing] Jesus Christ as savior,” “promis[ing] to serve Him as…Lord,” and “receiv[ing] and profess[ing] the Christian faith as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments”—¶217; see also, United Methodist Hymnal, pp. 34-35.)

The Alaska case first came to Council last October. As with the California-Nevada case mentioned above, the Judicial Council remanded it to the originating conference because of inadequate documentation.

(NOTE: The membership case may ultimately become moot. The 2008 General Conference, barely mustering the two-thirds majority required for a constitutional change, voted 66.9% to 33.1% to alter the language of Article IV to make it more “inclusive.” Before taking effect, a constitutional change must be approved by two-thirds of the eligible voting members of the Annual Conferences. All of the UMC’s Annual Conferences are voting on that constitutional proposal, as well as many others, in sessions this spring and summer.)

The Bush Presidential Center case involves a decision made last year by Bishop Robert Hayes at a meeting of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference.

The South Central Jurisdiction owns much of the land where Southern Methodist University is located. Certain land use at SMU must be approved by Jurisdictional Conference delegates.

bush-centerLast summer, delegates voted to approve leasing land at SMU for a planned Bush Center and Library. (Both President Bush and his wife, Laura, are United Methodists; Mrs. Bush is a 1968 graduate of SMU.)

The approval was challenged by a group led by the Rev. Jeannie Trevino-Teddlie of Fort Worth, who heads the Mexican-American Program at Perkins School of Theology at SMU. She requested a bishop’s ruling as to whether the lease would violate a Book of Discipline provision (¶2503.4) which requires United Methodist property to be “kept [and] maintained…for the benefit of The United Methodist Church and subject to the usages and the Discipline of The United Methodist Church.”

She further asked if such a lease would “subsidize a specific political and ideological point of view.”

(The Bush Presidential Center web site notes that George W. Bush Policy Institute, part of the Center, will focus on “core governing principles of freedom, opportunity, responsibility and compassion. The…Institute will advance these core governing principles through research, discussion and scholarship. The Institute will operate independently of SMU but will leverage opportunities for collaboration with SMU faculty and students to enhance the Institute’s efforts.”)

Bishop Hayes ruled that a request for a decision about the SMU’s right to lease property to the Bush Foundation was “improper, moot and hypothetical.” Under standard United Methodist procedure, any ruling of law by a bishop is automatically reviewed by the Judicial Council.

The make-up of the nine-member Judicial Council changed sharply as a result of the election of new Council members at the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

As reported in the April 29, 2008 Fort Worth Star-Telegram (article no longer online), “The council previously had a 6-3 conservative majority. But only one of the council members elected…is conservative, joining the sole conservative member remaining on the council.”

According to a report by the California-Nevada (Conference) News Service, the election of “progressive” members was the result of a coordinated effort.

Richard Bentley, a clergyman in the California-Pacific Conference [and convener of the California-Pacific Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action], was instrumental in developing the winning progressive slate. He was one of three men who called together contacts from annual conferences in each of five U.S. jurisdictions to give input on candidates who progressives affirmed will be, in their terms, “fair and balanced.”

Consensus developed based on theological perspectives and existing base support that could be augmented….

The slate was printed and distributed to nearly every annual conference delegation.

An editorial in the May/June 2008 Good News magazine noted that distribution of the slate appeared to be in violation of General Conference guidelines.

A matter left unexplained after the election of the new Council members was who exactly was responsible for a brochure placed on the desks of many delegates the morning of the elections.

The goldenrod flier listed candidates who were “recommended by a politically unaffiliated group of fifty jurisdictional and central conference delegates” but didn’t say who these fifty were — it wasn’t signed. It simply appeared on the desks of many delegates. (A conference rule prohibits materials being placed on the desks of the delegates.)

The flier’s…recommended candidates were all elected, and in the order listed on the brochure.

Following the elections, a delegate raised a question about the official-looking flier, but the report back was that no rule had been violated.

Dan Johnson with flier

Dan Johnson with flier

Use the audio player below to hear delegate Dan Johnson (clergy member, Florida Conference) raise a question about whether the flier, apparently distributed in violation of General Conference rules, had affected the outcome of the Judicial Council elections.

Bishop Mike Coyner (Indiana Conference) is the presiding officer.

The interchange is about two minutes.

The nine current members of the United Methodist Judicial Council are:

  • Susan T. Henry-Crowe (Council president, clergy, South Carolina Conf.)
  • — Dean of the Chapel and Religious Life at Emory Univ. in Atlanta

  • Jon R. Gray (Council vice president, lay, Missouri West Conf.)
  • — attorney, former circuit court judge

  • Angela Brown (lay, California-Nevada Conf.)
  • — asst. district attorney in San Francisco, board member—National Center for Lesbian Rights (PDF-see page 2), past vice president—NIA Collective, an organization for lesbians of African descent

  • William B. Lawrence (clergy, North Texas Conf.)
  • — Dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology

  • Ruben Reyes (lay, Philippines Central Conf.)
  • — Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines

The alternate members:

  • Joe May (first clergy alternate, Mississippi Conf.)
  • Jay Arthur Garrison (first lay alternate, Holston Conf.)
  • J. Montgomery (Monty) Brown (clergy, West Virginia)
  • Thomas K. Byerly (lay, West Michigan Conf.)
  • Mary A. Daffin (lay, Texas Conf.)
  • John Harnish (clergy, Michigan Conf.)
  • James D. Karblee (clergy, Liberia Conf.)
  • Raymond Mande Mutombo (lay, North Katanga Conf.)
  • Deanell Tacha (lay, Kansas East Conf.)
  • William F. White (lay, Wisconsin Conf.)
  • Rodney E. Wilmoth (clergy, Rocky Mountain Conf.)
  • Vicki Woods (clergy, New England Conf.)

Related posts
Judicial Council sends controversial cases back to conferences
Joe Whittemore: ‘Enough is enough’
John Ed Mathison: Seven concerns about the UMC
Bill Bouknight: The bad news from General Conference ‘08

Related articles and information
Judicial Council docket — April 22-25, 2009 (PDF)
Court docket includes Bush library, same-sex unions | Neill Caldwell, UM News Service (Jan. 21, 2009)
United Methodists elect new Judicial Council candidates | Institute on Religion and Democracy (April 29, 2008)
Five new members are elected to Judicial Council | Neill Caldwell, UM News Service (April 28, 2008)
Angela Brown of Jones Memorial UMC, San Francisco, elected to UM Judicial Council | Bruce Pettit, California-Nevada News Service (April 28, 2008)
Reflections on the 2008 General Conference | Editorial, Good News magazine (May/June 2008)
The George W. Bush Presidential Center
SMU’s Bush Library page

Read Full Post »

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