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Western UM Clergy, Mourn And Protest Because "Outted" Homosexual Clergy Denied Appointments


Bishop bars Rev. Mark Williams as pastor of Woodland Park UMC at Annual Conference closing worship

As reported in the Monday, June 18 link launches new window Seattle Times and on link launches new window  KOMO-TV Sunday evening, June 17, Bishop Galvan did not appoint Rev. Mark Williams to Woodland Park UMC during the Sunday morning, June 17 closing worship service of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. Williams had announced on Friday, June 16 to the assembled body at Annual Conference that he is homosexual. In addition, Rev. Karen Dammann, who was seeking an appointment this year did not receive one, nor did former pastor Katie Ladd. Rev. Karen Dammann is a pastor who had earlier let the Bishop know she is homosexual, and was requesting an appointment (see article below), and Rev. Katie Ladd, who was requesting an appointment to serve at a church had announced her homosexuality at this year's conference.

In response to this decision by the Bishop, clergy who were receiving appointments Sunday morning removed their stoles (worn over the robe as a sign of ordination) and symbolically placed them on a cross in support of Dammann, Williams, and Ladd. Woodland Park United Methodist Church also expressed its love and support of their pastor Rev. Mark Williams, and will meet Wednesday to further determine further response to the Bishops' decision.

Annual Conference clergy and delegates support ordination for homosexual pastors Reported by Bradley Scharf, lay delegate to Annual Conference (June 13 - 17 at U.P.S. in Tacoma) from First UMC of Seattle

[Tacoma, WA; Sat., June 16, 2001] As reported on link launches new window KING-TV's early evening news on Friday and in link launches new window THE SEATTLE TIMES and the link launches new window SEATTLE P-I (with photo) and link launches new window Tacoma News Tribune on Saturday, Rev. Mark Williams, Senior Pastor of Woodland Park UMC and member of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, told the assembled Annual Conference [on Friday] that he is homosexual, and he urged the United Methodist Church to honor his pastoral role and to accept him as God created him. His action is unprecedented in the United Methodist Church.

As he spoke, the assembly of several hundred clergy and lay members --- with VERY few exceptions --- rose in silent support of Mark. Rev. Dr. Robert T. Hoshibata, Superintendent of the Seattle District, was among the first and most visible people to demonstrate their support. Later, at a scheduled lunch meeting of the Seattle District, Bob urged participants "with diverse theological views" to find ways to be inclusive, "even if it means stretching your theology."

Following Rev. Williams' declaration, Rev. Kathlyn James [Senior Pastor of Seattle First UMC] and other members of the Rhythm Methodists improvised a reprise of "I Will Be Your Witness", a stirring incantation that they had introduced the previous evening.

Bishop Elias Galvan invited the assembly to prayer, while he convened a five-minute consultation with the Conference Cabinet. Rev. Paul Beeman, co-leader of the Reconciling Ministries Network of the PNWAC and member of First Church, and others quietly prompted others to join in singing "Jesus Loves Me", "Amazing Grace", and "Just As I Am", songs with especially compelling meaning to sexual minorities who have long experienced discrimination.

Although there was no formal proposal before the assembly on the status of gay and lesbian clergy, the afternoon session turned toward this question in oblique ways. A few delegates showed that they still cling to negative social myths and prejudices. But most speakers, including Rev. Stephen Guantai of First Church, spoke eloquently for including all of God's children. The afternoon concluded with a declaration from a prominent conference lay woman that she is a lesbian.

During dinner, many conference participants, including all participants from First Church, gathered to hear Rev. Robert Taylor, Dean of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Seattle. Rev. Taylor, described himself as "a practicing homosexual" and "a gay man by God's design". He recounted the warm welcome accorded him and his partner by the people of St. Mark's.

[RELATED STORY: Rev. Karen Dammann [link launches new window TIMES story], former pastor of Woodland Park UMC, requested an appointment to a Pacific Northwest Annual Conference church as a pastor in good standing.]

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