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Bishop Says "Trust Us" in Light of Latest Disobedience


STATEMENT REGARDING THE PERFORMING OF 'HOLY UNION' CEREMONY BY PASTOR(S) IN CALIFORNIA, JANUARY 16, 1999

Kenneth L. Carder, Bishop,
The Nashville Area
The United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline states: "Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches."

The performing of a 'holy union' of two women by a group of United Methodist clergy in Sacramento, California, does not change the position of The United Methodist Church on homosexual unions. Pastors who participate in such ceremonies are thereby subject to being charged under the provisions of the law of the church.

Responsibility for dealing with violations rests with the annual conference in which the violations take place. Therefore, the California-Nevada Conference though the appropriate leaders will respond to those who violate the church's polity. Although he has expressed disagreement with the position of the denomination on the matter of homosexuality and homosexual unions, Bishop Melvin Talbert has clearly stated that "as a bishop of the Church, I will uphold the polity of the Church."

It is important that we trust the process as it is clearly defined in the Book of Discipline. Speculations, rumors, and premature conclusions regarding the disposition of this matter serve only to inflame emotions and distort the church's position.

We must not permit the actions by the clergy in Sacramento to distract us from our central message and mission to proclaim and live the gospel of God's redeeming grace available to all people through Jesus Christ. Let us pray for our sisters and brothers in the California-Nevada Conference and for Bishop Talbert as they administer the polity of the church and live the gospel in the midst of conflict, division, and uncertainty.


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