Pro-Homosexuality UM Parents Celebrate High Court "Loop Hole" For Unfaithful Annual Conferences And Bishops
CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE
From the Parents' Reconciling Network (PRN)
Official Statement in Full
Parents' Reconciling Network's Response to Judicial Council Ruling
The Parents Reconciling Network expresses cautious support for the United Methodist Judicial Council decision that spells out due process and stresses that decisions regarding the standing of clergy should be made by the annual conferences. The decision, though narrow, appropriately focused on process and not on the validity of Discipline statements regarding the church's stance on homosexuality.
PRN believes this action is a step in the right direction because it honors the directive in the Discipline that gives the duty of determining the gifts and graces of clergy to Annual Conferences. The ruling briefly outlines the steps in the review process to be followed by Annual Conferences and rules out summary action without due process. This process should offer a measure of protection to gay and lesbian clergy.
However, Jamie B. Stroud of Philadelphia, national coordinator of PRN, said the parents group is concerned because this decision implies that Gay and Lesbian clergy should not be considered in good standing if they are "self-avowed and practicing." She said this position could further divide churches and the denomination if annual conferences react with bigotry.
This decision underscores the absurdity of the General Conference policies regarding clergy qualifications by making how clergy members use their genitals a prime determinant of whether they should be considered to be in good standing. This seems an inappropriate topic for discussion by Annual Conferences.
A significant number of United Methodist clergy are Lesbian and Gay persons, many of whom are among the finest and most gifted ministers in the denomination. Some are closeted and others are openly Gay or Lesbian. The denomination's stance on homosexuality affects all of them and their parents. It also affects the heterosexual clergy who work with and appreciate the gifts of their Gay and Lesbian colleagues.
This council decision does nothing to lessen the silliness of the current UM Igniting Ministries campaign, in which United Methodist churches are characterized as having open hearts, open minds, open doors. But in light of the issue of homosexuality, open hearts, open minds, open doors will continue to mean different things from church to church and conference to conference across the country.
Our Gay and Lesbian children were baptized in the United Methodist Church. They grew up in the church and participated in United Methodist Youth Fellowship. They helped lead worship services and taught Sunday School. They sang in the choir. They were confirmed as full members as teenagers and young adults. Many of them went on to graduate from seminary and were ordained as elders in the United Methodist Church.
They were never taught that their baptism and church membership were conditional, and we, their parents, continue to share their pain and disappointment when they learn that their baptism and membership in the United Methodist Church does not really mean they can participate fully in the life of the denomination.
PRN hopes that this Judicial Council decision will make it possible for increased acceptance of all within the denomination and will make it possible for our Gay and Lesbian children, both lay and clergy, to remain in the denomination in which they have grown up and to serve the churches to which they have been appointed.
The Parents' Reconciling Network
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