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Faithful Layman In Dammann Conference Makes Pea To Bishops For Help

Bishop Ruediger Minor

Judicial Council of United Methodist Church
P. O. Box 320 Nashville, TN 37202-0320

March 2004

Bishop Minor,

As you already know many of us United Methodists here in the Pacific Northwest are living in shock. It is total unbelief what a group of pastors, two representing pastors and the Bishop of the PNWC have done. It doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to see what the Bishop (through Rev. Elaine Stanovsky, his assistant) has done. We find it incomprehensible that a clergy jury can place themselves above the law of the church and defiantly and flagrantly rule as they have, in complete disregard for their parishioners in the Pacific Northwest.

The Book of Discipline clearly states, “Paragraph 304.3 – Since the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church.” And this jury of peers (her supporters) found her not guilty. She admitted in a letter to Bishop Elias Galvan she was living in a committed homosexual relationship and a week before the trial she made that concrete by going to Portland, Oregon and marrying her partner. And yet they found her “Not Guilty.” Our pastoral and bishop leadership in the PNWC has snubbed their noses at the Book of Discipline and the people of the church. And the Bishop has the nerve to blindly say, “Follow us.!”

The trial was a mockery of justice, church or civil, as well as a mockery of truth. In the end Bishop Galvan was quoted as saying, “I am glad!” Pastor Finkbeiner, the church representation was also quoted as saying, “Personally, I am glad I lost!” This is a clear picture of what they think of the Book of Discipline and the congregations who believe in the Bible and support the Book of Discipline.

Now I am the first to realize this action does not represent the United Methodist Church as a whole and that it is the action of one rebel conference. But that said, what do those of us who believe in United Methodism do? They treat us like “dumb sheep” and say Follow us! We deserve better! What is General Conference going to do about us floundering souls that are considering leaving the church, at least for a time, and realize we cannot fight because the PNWC leadership ignores and denies us. I was extremely rudely treated by Rev. Elaine Stanosvky when approached about our rights. Her public statement that “the jury made its decision with ‘the greatest of integrity’ is an example of where our leadership is on the issue. Rev Finkbeiner, the church representative, after the verdict, was quoted as saying, “he believed the jury overstepped the bounds of church law. ‘And I don’t feel bad about that.”

Truth be known, this trial should never have taken place in the PNW. The trial should have been held at General Conference level. As long as we allow trials where we “try ourselves”, we are not very likely to receive many guilty verdicts. There should have not been a trial, she should have been stripped of her position on her own admission of guilt. And as for Bishop Galvan, he could refuse to appoint her to a position based on the facts, (how novice an idea if the jury had considered the facts) but in his own admission, “we’ll welcome her and appoint her.”

I guess the question is “What is the General Conference going to do for the Pacific Northwest Methodists that are faithful to the Book of Discipline?” How long are we to allow our pastoral leadership lead us astray without someone getting a rein on them? What can you do to assure us we will have a biblical Methodism in the Pacific Northwest? It is a sad time in the history of Methodism!

We have come to realize that the Pacific Northwest Conference, in it’s disregard for and unwillingness to uphold the Book of Discipline, will not be an honest participant at the upcoming General Conference of the United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh this coming April. Even the election of the annual delegates was fixed so that they could control them. We must instead rely on our prayers to God and our brothers and sisters in Christ from the many conferences around the country to be our advocates. HELP! HELP!

Sincerely in God’s Love,

Lewis C. McAllister
A long-time concerned Methodist
“ Now Looking ”

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