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Christ Church, Memphis Barnabas Commitee Updates Report Of Current State UM Episcopal Unfaithfulness

Barnabas Committee - "Tidings" Report

The Barnabas Committee, which was formed to direct the renewal ministry of Christ Church and encourage renewal in the United Methodist church, has as one of its tasks, the distribution of information to the congregation. There are many issues facing our denomination that most likely will affect General Conference. We will be running articles pointing to Internet sites where you can gather a broader understanding of the issues. If you do not have the Internet access, the church library has access and you are welcome to use their computer during library hours.

This article will focus on the actions of some of our bishops and the recent decision in the California / Nevada Conference. Future articles will show resolutions that will be presented at General conference as well as any issues that may arise.


California/ Nevada Decision and Results

An article by the United Methodist News Service can be found at http://umns.umc.org/00/feb/089.htm "The dismissal of a case against a group of United Methodist ministers who performed a same-sex union will likely intensify the debate over homosexuality issues when the church’s top lawmaking body meets in May, according to people on both sides."

In another article by the UMNS Bishop Melvin Talbert announced the committee’s decision during a Feb. 11 press conference which can be found at http://umns.umc.org/00/feb/061.htm Talbert says, "Having received this report from the the Committee on Investigation …I now declare that according to our church polity this complaint process is hereby ended. No further steps or actions will be taken or pursued. I am grateful to the members of the Committee on Investigation for a job well done." This article also contains Bishop Talbert’s full statement and the committee’s written decision.


Bishops Speak Out

Two bishops have released statements regarding the above decision. Bishop Lindsey Davis of the North Georgia conference released this statement to his conference on February 14:

"I am deeply troubled by the recent decision by the Committee on Investigation of the California-Nevada Annual Conference to not certify the Judicial complaint against the 67 clergy who admitted to performing a same sex union on January 19, 1999 in Sacramento. In failing to uphold the discipline of our church, the committee has called into serious question our ability as a denomination to live in accountability with one another. I believe their lack of action has further eroded the unity of our Church and will be destructive to our primary task of making disciples for Christ. It is my prayer that the delegates to General conference will give serious consideration to ways in which we can address this issue legislatively. I call on Methodists in North Georgia to be in prayer for the pastors and churches in California and elsewhere who are deeply wounded by this decision."


Bishop Joe E. Pennel, Jr. of the Virginia conference issued the following statement, Feb. 23:

"Based on my understanding of the spirit and intent of the Book of Discipline, the Committee on Investigation of the California-Nevada Annual conference should have certified the Judicial complaint against the 67 clergy who reportedly confessed to participating in a same sex union on January 19,1999 in Sacramento, California. Such action by the 67 clergy in question and the California-Nevada Conference Committee on Investigation should be a clarion call to the whole church to discuss thoughtfully and carefully all concerns which pertain to sexuality, homosexuality and same sex unions. These discussions should be highly informed by our understanding of biblical authority, Christian doctrine, church law and the nature of revelation. I call upon the Virginia conference to pray for the upcoming meeting of the General Conference as the duly elected lay and clergy delegates make decisions about these and other issues that face the church and the world." http://www.goodnewsmag.org/the_latest/cal-nev022800.htm

Actions by Other Bishops

Bishop Susan Morrison of the Troy Conference recently was among 17 religious leaders encouraging the Vermont legislature to pass a bill that legalizes same-sex marriages. This UMNS report can be found at http://umns.umc.org/00/jan/028.htm


Bishop Roy Sano of the California-Pacific conference recently signed onto the Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing. The full text of this document can be found at http://www.religionproject.org/declaration.html Among other things this declaration calls for "Full inclusion of women and sexual minorities in congregational life, including their ordination and the blessing of same sex unions."


Jack M. Tuell, a retired Bishop of the united Methodist church sent a letter to lay and clergy delegates of the 2000 General conference, urging the delegates to overturn legislation passed by the 1996 General Conference which prohibits the performance of "homosexual unions" by the United Methodist ministers and in United Methodist churches. A copy of the letter can be found at http://ucmpage.org/news/gc2000_lobby.html

Calls for Accountability

An open letter to Bishop Robert C. Morgan, President of the United Methodist council of Bishops and copied to the rest of the active members of the council can be found at http://ucmpage.org/news/ca_disobey_hearing7.html This letter signed by James V. Heidinger, President and publisher of Good News magazine, calls for the council of bishops "to hold one another accountable and deal with this internally" This was in regard to both Bishops Morrison’s and Sano’s public stands. An addendum to the letter also includes "the action taken by the California/Nevada Annual Conference and its Episcopal leader, Bishop Melvin Talbert, who claims the annual conference is a more ‘basic and fundamental covenant than General conference and the Book of Discipline.’"

A letter is in the process of being sent from the Barnabas Committee to Bishop Carder asking if he will be making a statement in regard to the California/Nevada decision.

To stay informed on General conference activities United Methodist News Service, the denomination’s official news agency, will post more than 75 stories during the conference, one after each major action or presentation. All stories and daily summaries can for the duration of the 10-day meeting be received automatically by e-mail. To subscribe for this free service, go to http://umns.umc.org/gc2000news on the web.

A live prayer chat room is in the process of being organized for individuals interested in praying during General Conference with each other via Internet. As the details become available we will let you know. Look for more articles from your Barnabas Committee and visit our Barnabas room on the third floor of Dunnam for any articles you see listed here.

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