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NIC Voice GC2004 Update - Part XV

NIC VOICE is a network of laity in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church.
NIC VOICE General Conference Update # 16
New items are indicated as follows:  NEW!!!! 
NEW!!!!  Today's Press Articles on GC2004 (5/4/2004)
Top Methodist court will not revisit case of lesbian pastor


PITTSBURGH -- The top United Methodist court ruled Tuesday that it does not have the authority to review the case of an openly lesbian pastor who was acquitted of violating church law.

""They bought our argument, which is you can't do anything retroactive in a trial that is already decided," Thompson said, in a phone interview from Seattle. "This is a victory. I'm every pleased with it."

However, experts in church law say they were sifting through the decision to sort out the implications."

Measures on homosexuality considered 
The Courier-Journal



PITTSBURGH The United Methodist Church's highest judicial body and its main legislative branch are slated to take up separate measures related to controversies over homosexuality at the denomination's national meeting in Pittsburgh today.

The nine-member Judicial Council went behind closed doors yesterday to deliberate whether to take legal action against an openly lesbian minister from Washington state.

Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 legislative delegates to the church's General Conference were preparing to vote on legislation that preserves the denomination's ban on ordaining noncelibate gays and lesbians. But in a change of tone, the new proposal would include language acknowledging "that Christians disagree" on the matter.

Conference delegate rips media coverage
Gay issue not central to the discussions
PITTSBURGH - The Rev. Karen Shepler wonders if she's attending the same United Methodist General Conference that the media are covering.

Ms. Shepler, the head of the church's National Urban Strategy Committee and pastor of Toledo's Monroe Street United Methodist Church, arrived five days before the global conference opened April 27 and has been carefully tracking 170 of the 1,700 resolutions she feels could affect urban issues.

But all she's been hearing in media coverage of the conference is "the 'H' word," she said. That's "H" as in homosexuality.

"I think it's a distraction. It's not the only issue we are dealing with," Ms. Shepler said.

NEW!!!! http://www.pennlive.com/newsflash/pa/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1083672855234150.xml

Methodists reject statement on divisions over homosexuality

The Associated Press
5/4/2004, 3:05 p.m. ET

PITTSBURGH (AP) United Methodists affirmed their church's condemnation of homosexuality Tuesday by rejecting a measure that would have officially acknowledged that Christians disagree on the issue


NEW!!!! http://www.kesq.com/Global/story.asp?S=1837788

Pittsburgh-AP -- Methodists who seek broader acceptance of gays marched together to the church's national meeting today -- then dropped to their knees in prayer as delegates arrived for a day of voting.

Methodists March to Support Homosexuality
The Associated Press


PITTSBURGH - Methodists who seek broader acceptance of gays marched together to the church's national meeting Tuesday, then dropped to their knees in prayer as delegates arrived for a day of voting.

The nearly 200 congregants and clergy, wearing the colorful stoles that are a symbol of their movement, lined up one-by-one along the entrance to the building where the United Methodist General Conference is being held.


NEW!!!! http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/valleynewsdispatch/news/s_192149.html

Valley United Methodists welcome worldwide gathering of their faith

Saturday, May 1, 2004


Some Valley clergy hope to see the "United" emphasized in "United Methodist" during the next two weeks.

Almost 1,000 delegates from throughout the world are gathered through May 7 in Pittsburgh to decide the direction of the church during the next four years.

The United Methodist General Conference, which takes place every four years, is facing 1,600 pieces of legislation in sessions at David L. Lawrence Convention Center.


Reporter Interactive:

 Editorial Analysis Breaking our unity in Christ by Cynthia B. Astle, Editor :  http://www.reporterinteractive.org/news/042804/GC04_g.htm
Previous Reports:
UMC 'high court' says anti-gay stance is church law, but some dissent:  http://www.reporterinteractive.org/news/042804/GC04_e.htm
Treasurer: Church finances sobering, but hope remains:  http://www.reporterinteractive.org/news/042804/GC04_f.htm
Bishops call for global conferencing on doctrine, diversity:  http://www.reporterinteractive.org/news/042804/GC04_d.htm
Conference opens with call for praise, prayer, work:  http://www.reporterinteractive.org/news/042804/GC04_c.htm
Effort fails to have bishops preside in committees:  http://www.reporterinteractive.org/news/042804/GC04_a.htm
Bishops express hope for 'holy conferencing: http://www.reporterinteractive.org/news/042804/pastoral.htm
Most in polls would toughen ban on gays, lesbians in church:  http://www.reporterinteractive.org/news/042804/polls.htm
cific Northwest Reconciling Ministries Network: http://www.users.qwest.net/~aspencg/NewFiles/GC.html
(Note - these reports are numbered beginning with last Monday as Day 1)
In this report there is a description of the Reconciling Ministries Network worship service at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, including the following:
Shower of Stoles Display
Sermon by Janet Wolf, UMC pastor, Nashville, TN which referenced PNWC delegation letter
Baptism by Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, Northern Illinois Conference
Good News Updates:  Focus Home Page

Focus Newsletter
Focus 1 4/27 - Welcome to Pittsburgh - Focus Update 1:  04-27-2004
Focus 2 4/28 - Our Differences Matter - Focus Update 2:  04-28-2004
Focus 3 4/29 - Rumors of Protest - Focus Update 3: 04-29-2004

Soulforce UMC Denomination Page:  http://www.soulforce.org/denomination/umc/index.shtml

SoulForce's response to Focus Update 3 - 04-29-2004 
Soulforce Responds to Misinformation in Good News Newsletter

Focus 4 4/30 - Faith Under Fire - Focus Update 4:  04-30-2004

Focus 5 5/1 - An Initiative for Unborn Children

Focus 6 5/3 - The Consensus of the Faithful


nstitute for Religion & Democracy, UM Action Reports

UM Action : 2004 General Conference

The 2004 General Conference of the United Methodist Church is taking place on April 27 through May 7 in Pittsburgh, PA.  UMAction director Mark Tooley is in Pittsburgh, and will be issuing regular reports on the issues and controversies.  Check this page for the most current articles and press releases on the conference.

UM Action Hosts Event on Persecuted Christians (3-May)
Liberal UM Caucus Celebrates "Gay" Cause Again (3-May)
Press Release: United Methodists Become First Mainline Church Against Same-Sex Marriage (3-May)


Two Retired Bishops Address Liberal Caucus about Dammann Trial (30-Apr)
 Methodist Bishops Charge U.S. State Department with Racism (30-Apr)

Church Council Chief Speaks to Church and Society Breakfast (29-Apr)

United Methodists Debate Homosexuality Among Other Issues (28-Apr)
Church and Society Chief Lashes Out (28-Apr)
Former Clinton Spokesman Speaks at General Conference Luncheon (28-Apr)
Confessing Movement General Conference 2004 Reports:  http://www.confessingumc.org/
NOTE:  As of this evening, 5/3, some of these links aren't working.  If they aren't, check the site later today.
May 2, 2004
need for Prayer!
Please focus from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Monday, May 3, 2004, for the election of Judicial Council members.  The Judicial Council is the Supreme Court of the Church.

NEW!!!! May 1, 2004
The Judicial Council Speaks(click here)
Judicial Council Decision No. 984(click here)

NEW!!!! April 30, 2004 
Legislative Committee Updates(click here)
The Confessing Movement at General Conference(click here)

"The motion for a Declaratory Decision from the Judicial Council yesterday reflects the effort by United Methodists to try to understand just how the Karen Dammann trial court's contradictory verdict could have happened. It simply made no sense. And it left many questioning whether commonly-understood passages in the Book of Discipline actually mean what we thought they did."

Wednesday, April 28

Our Differences Matter (click here)

Methodists Federation for Social Action (MFSA) Reports
The Daily SQBs Of General Conference 2004 (in downloadable .pdf format)
NEW!!!!  Reconciling Ministries Network GC2004 Articles and Reports
NEW!!!!  Affirmation Daily Newsletter, Drops of Water:
Affirmation General Conference 2004:  http://www.umaffirm.org/gc2004/
Affirmation Pictures at GC:  http://umaffirm.org/gc2004/photos.html
Pictures include Affirmation members at GC, MoSAIC Rally (see related UMNS report posted by CorNet:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UMCalledOut/message/2483), Love Makes a Family display; Shower of Stoles Display
Articles include:
      No Prayer Allowed
      The Call Never Goes Away
      Something is Missing
Pacific Northwest Reconciling Ministries Network:
Day 2 at General Conference  Winifred Keefer Day 3 at General Conference  Winifred Keefer
GC2004 Updates by Faithful Christian Laity: 
This unofficial BB is www.ucmpage.org.  Also, see news thread at:  http://www.ucmpage.org/news_page.html#News
This unofficial BB is being used by Faithful Christian Laity (evangelical group in PNWAC) to provide updates. 
Cathy Biehler is volunteering with Good News and is attending the entire conference.
Called Out Information Service sponsored by Affirmation - includes updates on GC2004:
"Called Out" is an information service about LGBT religious concerns sponsored by Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, and Transgendered Concerns. Affirmation is not an official body of the UMC. This is a public, read-only mailing list. Anyone may join, no matter what their opinions. The sponsors of this list support full inclusion and justice for LGBT people in society and The United Methodist Church. Content and viewpoints of materials and links will vary with the source.
Click here for UMNS news summaries and other reports posted by Called Out:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UMCalledOut/messages/
Prayer Witness and Procession to David Lawrence Convention Center:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UMCalledOut/message/2488
Affirmation Hot Water Topic: Gender & Identity:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UMCalledOut/message/2489
General Conference Fails to Acknowledge Truth That UMC Is Not of One Mind:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UMCalledOut/message/2492
Group Holds Silent Demonstration for Inclusion of Homosexuals:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UMCalledOut/message/2493
Four Elected to United Methodist Judicial Council:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UMCalledOut/message/2495

2004 General Conference Archive:   http://gatewayumc.org/gc04.htm (updated)
Petitions Status and Legislative Tracking:
How to listen/watch GC2004 session
Bandwidth has been added to the UMC; if you continue to have difficulties accessing video/audio feeds at the UMC site, try these alternative links:


Read How The Secular Print Media Is Reporting On General Conference




2004 General Conference Archive:   http://gatewayumc.org/gc04.htm (updated)
Petitions Status and Legislative Tracking:
How to listen/watch GC2004 session
Bandwidth has been added to the UMC; if you continue to have difficulties accessing video/audio feeds at the UMC site, try these alternative links:




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