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Arizona Church Council Reacts to Mass Lesbian Wedding in CA


Motion Unanimously Passed by the Administrative Council of the First United Methodist Church of Mesa, Arizona

January 21, 1999

Whereas: A ceremony celebrating a "same sex union" was conducted by more than 80 United Methodist Clergy on January 16, 1999 in Sacramento, California.

Whereas: Paragraph 65C of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church (the Discipline) includes the following:

Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches;

Whereas: Paragraph 65G of the Discipline states:

Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth…Although we do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching, we affirm that God’s grace is available to all;

Whereas: Paragraph 304.2 of the Discipline states:

To this end, they (referring to ordained clergy) agree to exercise responsible self-control by…fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness…;

Whereas: Additionally, Paragraph 304.3 of the Discipline contains:

While all 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. Since the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church;

Whereas: John 8:3-11 deals with sexual sin. In this passage Jesus showed mercy and did not condemn the woman caught in adultery. Members of the body of Christ are also called to show the same mercy and lack of condemnation. However, in verse 11 Jesus admonishes her to "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Whereas: Biblical teachings and thousands of years of Judeo-Christian morality affirm that the only appropriate sexual relationship is between a man and a woman within a heterosexual marriage. We are all sinners, and being human some of us may fall into sexual sin. For these sins and others Jesus gave His life on the cross so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life through grace. Accordingly, it is not appropriate for pastors within The United Methodist Church to condone the practice of sin by blessing that sin.

The Administrative Council of the First United Methodist Church of Mesa, Arizona hereby resolves:

We cannot condone this "same sex union" ceremony since it is in violation of paragraph 65C of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church. We also deplore the ceremony as destructive toward the polity of The United Methodist Church.

We recognize this act as a clear violation of the teachings of Scripture by the United Methodist clergy performing this ceremony. The teachings ignored include Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1, and 1 Corinthians 6:9.

We affirm our support for the stance of The United Methodist Church as represented in paragraphs 65C, 65G, 304.2 and 304.3 of the Discipline.

We affirm that the facilities of First United Methodist Church of Mesa, Arizona shall be used in accordance with paragraph 65C of the Discipline.

We re-affirm the Administrative Council Motion adopted April 22, 1996 stating our opposition to the ordination of practicing homosexuals.

We re-affirm the Administrative Council Motion adopted April 22, 1996 endorsing the statement that "we do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching…" as found in the 1992 Discipline, paragraph 71F. (1996 Discipline paragraph is 65G).

We rejoice that the pastors serving First United Methodist Church of Mesa, Arizona faithfully uphold the Discipline and encourage them to continue their commendable practices.

A copy of this resolution shall be forwarded to the Superintendent, Central East District, Desert Southwest Annual Conference; to the Bishop, Desert Southwest Annual Conference; and to the Presiding Bishop of the Council of Bishops.

 

Henry Stewart
Co-Lay Leader
e-mail henrys@interacs.com
FAX (602) 396-0199
Mark Tripoli
Co-Lay Leader

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