From: Dick Dalfiume rdalfium@binghamton.edu
Subject: Petitions in Wyoming Conference of NY-PA
Subject: Petitions in Wyoming Conference of NY-PA

Friends, someone shared the petitions put forward by Reconciling folks in Nebraska not long ago. Here are the ones put forward in our conference. How do they compare with what is being proposed in other conferences?

Dick


Petition # 1 STUDY OF ISSUES OF HOMOSEXUALITY

Substitute the last paragraph of the 1996 Book of Discipline, para. 65.G. (page 89) with the following:

We acknowledge with humility and pain that the United Methodist Church has been unable to arrive at a common mind on the compatibility of Christian teaching with the living out of one's homosexual orientation in a sexual relationship. Many consider such to be incompatible with Christian teaching. Many others believe that living out one's homosexual orientation in a sexual relationship is compatible with Christian teaching when done in the context of human covenantal faithfulness. The church seeks further understanding and the leading of the Holy Spirit through continued study and prayer on this issue. Every local church is encouraged to study the issue of homosexuality using the denomination's official study materials.

Guy L. Burt, Division of Church and Society

PETITION #2

THE CHURCH'S MINISTRY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION

WHEREAS The United Methodist Church remains divided and in open disagreement about the meaning, nature, and origins of homosexuality; and

WHEREAS any ecclesiastical statement that attempts to define the church's stand on homosexuality only promotes antagonism and schism during this time of contention in the life of the United Methodist Church; and

WHEREAS our present Disciplinary statement regarding homosexuality leads many gay, lesbian, and bisexual United Methodists to question the willingness of the United Methodist Church and its congregations to be in nurturing, pastoral ministry with them;

THEREFORE we, the members of the Wyoming Annual Conference, petition the General Conference of 2000 to modify the fifth paragraph of para.65(G) to read: "Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth. All persons need the ministry and guidance of the church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. (The next section, between the asterisks, they have struck through, to show that it would be deleted) *Although we do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching...* (This next section, between the plus signs is to take the place of what was just deleted) + Acknowledging disagreements and divisions within the United Methodist Church about the meaning, nature and origins of sexual orientation, we call the church to prayerful reflection, study, and discernment about how we minister to one another in the midst of such disagreements.+ We affirm that God's grace is available to all. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons."

Gary E. Doupe, for the Reconciling Task Force [Division of Church and Society] Guy L. Burt,for the Division of Church and Society

PETITION #3

CELEBRATION OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS

WHEREAS we entrust ordained and licensed persons with the obligation to serve as pastors as directed in the Discipline and guided by the supervision of the district superintendency, episcopacy, and Board of Ordained Ministry, and this trust includes (para. 331.1.i) "The decision to perform the ceremony shall be the right and responsibility of the pastor"; and

WHEREAS many congregations which include gay-identified persons in the life and ministries of their church find themselves in an irreconcilable bind due to Disciplinary obligations: to prohibit ceremonies of celebration and blessing to some church members is in contradiction with the Disciplinary statements that: "Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth. All persons need the ministry and guidance of the church in their struggles for human fulfillments, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self" (para 65G); and "... all Christians are called to minister wherever Christ would have them serve and witness in deeds and words that heal and free (para 105);

THEREFORE we the members of the Wyoming Annual Conference petition the General Conference 2000 to delete the last sentence of para 65C of the 1996 Book of Discipline (Social Principles, the Nurturing Community, Marriage) as follows: (This section is struck through, just like the earlier deletions) *"Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches."*

Gary E. Doupe, for the Reconciling Task Force [Division of Church and Society] Guy L. Burt, for the Division of Church and Society

PETITION #4

QUALIFICATIONS FOR CANDIDACY TO ORDAINED MINISTRY

WHEREAS the Board of Ordained Ministry of each Annual Conference is given specific and strict criteria for the evaluation of candidates for ministry ( paras 324-327, 319 - 322); and

WHEREAS we recognize that God, in God's infinite wisdom, calls people to ordained ministry and church leadership regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, status of marriage, or status of divorce; and

WHEREAS we cannot know the extent of God's infinite wisdom but trust in our processes of evaluation and prayerful reflection to provide the Annual Conference with qualified, effective spiritual leaders; and

WHEREAS we can foresee the possiblity that God may call homosexual United Methodists into ordained ministry;

THEREFORE we, the members of Wyoming Annual Conference, petition the General Conference of 2000 to delete the last sentence of para 304.3: (This section struck through, as before, indicating deletion)

*"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."*

Gary E. Doupe, for the Reconciling Task Force [Division of Church and Society] Guy L. Burt, for the Division of Church and Society