CA Evangelicals Calls Upon Bishop To Choose Church Counsel Who Support's Church Doctrine & Discipline
The Leadership Team of the Evangelical Renewal Fellowship (EFR) of the California-Nevada Annual Conference has expressed its concerns to Bishop Talbert as he appoints the vital position of "Counsel for the Church" for a possible trial of the Rev. Don Fado and others who participated in a homosexual union service on January 16, 1999. They said in a March 16 letter to the Bishop, "This person or persons obviously must be supportive of the order and Discipline of our church, as called for in Para.2627.1f, Counsel for the Church shall... represent the interests of the Church in pressing the claims of the person making the complaint.'"
To this end, they asked the Bishop, "We anticipate that those taking part in the ceremony, signing on in absentia,' signing the In All Things Charity' statement favoring homosexual unions as well as the signers of The Statement of Commitment' stating, We publicly state that we will celebrate rites of union with all couples, regardless of gender, as part of the pastoral responsibilities consistent with the gospel and spirit of Jesus Christ, entrusted to us by The United Methodist Church,' will not be considered by you as candidates for the important position of Counsel for the Church." In addition to 74 clergy from the California-Nevada Annual Conference who participated in the Jan. 16 service, 21 were "in absentia." Fifty-two clergy from the conference have signed the covenant saying they will perform homosexual unions in violation of the Discipline, and 103 have signed the "In All Things Charity" statement. Some have signed more than one document. The ERF Leadership Team felt that none of these persons due to a conflict of interest should serve as Counsel for the Church, nor should they be considered for the jury pool or for service on the Committee on Investigation which must consider these charges.
The Evangelical Renewal Fellowship plans to ask the 2000 General Conference to create an evangelical conference in the Western Jurisdiction for those who cannot stay in what many believe is a corrupt conference. This effort began when the ERF met April 1, 1998, in Oakdale to discuss the California Nevada Annual Conference cabinet's support of the Rev. Jimmy Creech who was acquitted in a church trial for performing a homosexual union ceremony in Nebraska. At that time the ERF voted to seek means of leaving the conference. After a meeting with the cabinet and ministry staff of the conference on May 20 which rejected this request but gave acquiescence for the ERF to seek the evangelical conference, four pastors left the United Methodist Church. Plans were set in motion at their February meeting to seek this conference. Evangelical pastors across the nation would be encouraged to become "missionaries" to restore Wesleyan theology and practice to the West. The ERF at that February meeting also resolved to follow the judicial process to assure fairness and justice for all concerned. In the light of that resolve, the letter was sent to Bishop Talbert. A full text of the letter to the Bishop along with the list of names of signers from the California-Nevada Annual Conference is attached.
|Evangelical Renewal Fellowship
March 16, 1999
Bishop Melvin G. Talbert
Dear Bishop Talbert:
Our prayers and blessing upon you during your time of healing. We are continuing to pray for you and the cabinet as you requested in your letter of January 6, 1999.
The Evangelical Renewal Fellowship Leadership Team met on March 16, 1999. We were in discussion regarding the "Counsel for the Church" whom you have the responsibility to appoint (The Discipline ¶2626.3b), to prepare for possible trials of those who participated in the "holy union" in Sacramento on January 16, 1999.
We anticipate that those taking part in the ceremony, signing on "in absentia," signing the "In All Things Charity" statement favoring homosexual unions as well as the signers of "The Statement of Commitment" stating, "We publicly state that we will celebrate rites of union with all couples, regardless of gender, as part of the pastoral responsibilities consistent with the gospel and spirit of Jesus Christ, entrusted to us by The United Methodist Church," will not be considered by you as candidates for the important position of Counsel for the Church. This person or persons obviously must be supportive of the order and Discipline of our church, as called for in ¶2627.1f, "Counsel for the Church shall... represent the interests of the Church in pressing the claims of the person making the complaint." For your information a list of those from our conference who signed these two statements is included.
We also feel that these same persons should not be included in the jury pool due to obvious conflict of interest. We hope this conflict can be resolved quickly according to The Book of Discipline. We are anticipating action on these issues which have been brought to your attention, and we await your response.
In the meantime we will continue to keep you and the cabinet in our prayers.
Robert L. Kuyper, President
Ronald A. Greilich
|The Signers of the Statement of Commitment to perform homosexual unions,
released on March 2, 1998, from California-Nevada. Taken from the CORNET website: http://www.umaffirm.org/cornet/signers.html
"In All Things Charity"
"We affirm appropriate liturgical support for covenantal commitments between same-gendered couples. The Church has called itself to be in ministry to all persons regardless of their sexual orientation. To withhold rituals of support and accountability for committed relationships is unconscionable. The standards for preparation and celebration of such services with same-gendered couples should be the same as for weddings of heterosexual couples."
http://www.brdwyumc.org/IATC/Names/Clergy_Signers_1Page30.html (through page 33)
Clergy Signers from California Nevada
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