Confessing Movement: UMC May Face Division At General Conference If California Decision Remains Unchallenged
CONFESSING MOVEMENT RESPONSE TO CALIFORNIA/NEVADA DECISION TO BRING NO CHARGES AGAINST 68 PASTORS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bishop Melvin Talbert Announces No Charges Will Be Brought Against 68 Pastors Who Performed Same-Sex Union
When charges were filed in the California/Nevada Conference against Don Fado and his colleagues for performing a same-sex union on January 16, 1999, these charges were effectively disregarded and charges designed by Bishop Talbert and his Cabinet were substituted.
These charges were finally brought before the Committee on Investigation and a lengthy hearing was held on February 1 - 3, 2000. Following that hearing the Chairman of the Committee made this statement, "The Committee on Investigation for Clergy Members does not certify the Judicial complaint dated May 10th, 1999, relating to the Service of Celebration of the Holy Union of Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton held on January 16th, 1999, Sacramento, California against (68 pastors charged), as a charge proper for trail."
Bishop Talbert then issued a statement which said in part, " 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". The decision of Bishop Talbert and the leadership of the California/Nevada Conference is a clear rejection of the plainly stated doctrine and discipline of the United Methodist Church prohibiting the performance of same-sex unions as upheld by the ruling of the Judicial Council. These decisions indicate that Bishop Talbert and California/Nevada Conference leaders feel free to act as if they were a sovereign entity unto themselves.
It is our deep conviction that Bishop Melvin Talbert, the leadership of the California/Nevada Conference, and the 68 pastors who performed the same-sex union have broken covenant with their colleagues in the rest of United Methodism. Our covenant is not restricted to Conference boundaries, but includes the whole of the connection. It is obvious that the decision of the California/Nevada Conference is in violation of Church Law. The question is, will Bishop Talbert and his colleagues in the Conference be held accountable? This arrogant usurpation of power and disregard for the action of General Conference and the decision of the Judicial Council cannot be allowed to stand. To do so would surely bring a division in the United Methodist Church. One would wonder if this is the intent of Bishop Talbert and his colleagues in the California/Nevada Conference.
If the Council of Bishops or the Judicial Council do not find a way to hold Bishop Talbert and his colleagues in the California/Nevada Conference accountable, then the General Conference meeting in Cleveland will be facing the most divisive decision it has faced in over 100 years. This crisis is brought about by a determined minority of the Church which is committed to forcing the rest of the Church to accept and approve homosexual practice as moral. Such approval is clearly rejected in scripture and over 3000 years of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It the United Methodist Church follows the example of Bishop Talbert and the California/Nevada Conference, it will break its apostolic tie with over 98% of Christendom.
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