Evangelicals Prepare For Gay Marriage Battle To Move To Mass Lesbian Wedding Investigation
Gay "marriage" has become a big issue in our society. A measure to define marriage as being between a man and a woman will be on our California state ballot in March. This has aroused tremendous opposition from the gay community.
This issue also has its counterpart in the church. You no doubt know that several United Methodist pastors have been tried and convicted of conducting a homosexual union, an act which is prohibited by our Discipline. Then in January of 1999, 67 pastors, mostly retired, of the California-Nevada Annual Conference "conducted" a homosexual union in Sacramento. This was widely supported by clergy and laity in our conference, especially those in the San Francisco Bay area.
Trying 67 pastors is unprecedented; we have had only one trial for a clergy person since I joined the conference in 1968. Our procedures have been designed to resolve differences without a trial, not to deal with such a "protest." One such trial in another conference cost over $100,000. I hate to think what 67 trials might cost.
The system has struggled to respond. After over a year, now the Committee on Investigation (which functions somewhat like a Grand Jury) will hold a hearing on February 1-3. I and others from a conservative perspective have been asked to testify. Scholars from various perspectives have been invited. This hearing has already attracted media attention, and will be a springboard launching us into the political battle which will rage over gay "marriage."
My testimony is scheduled to come Tuesday, February 1, in the afternoon. The Rev. Rod Brayfindley and Carl Adams will testify on Wednesday. Dr. Steve Harper of Asbury will be testifying on Tuesday. We all solicit your prayers.
The Committee on Investigation will deliberate after the hearing. They can dismiss the complaints or move them forward to a trial. Whatever decision they make, the pain will be great. Please keep our church and conference in your prayers.
The Evangelical Renewal Fellowship (ERF) will be having a press conference at the upcoming hearings of the California-Nevada Annual Conference Committee on Investigation. The Committee will be hearing from ERF representatives and others regarding the homosexual union conducted by 67 of our pastors in January of 1999.
The press conference will be on Wednesday at 5:30 PM (or whenever the session ends) in the media room set up at the First UMC in Fairfield where the hearing will be held.
Persons will be available to answer your questions about our reaction to the hearings and the Evangelical Missionary Conference which we are proposing as a solution to the problems generated by the conducting of holy unions.
For more information, contact Robert L. Kuyper, President ERF RLKuyper@aol.com (661) 325-0785
[Click] button If you would like to add your to the UCM News
<Back to News