UM He-She Pastor Elated About Church High Court Decision, But Not Quite
From: Adam Bridell
Date: Oct 31, 2007 6:54 PM
Subject: BWARM: News from the Judicial Council
We are very pleased to share a piece of great news! The Judicial Council upheld Bishop Schol's rulings of law with regard to the appointment of Rev. Drew Phoenix. Read the text of Judicial Council Decision 1074
Rev. Phoenix wrote yesterday afternoon in an email to his congregation, St. John's of Baltimore City :
"I am elated to report that the United Methodist Judicial Council upheld our bishop's rule of law: That transgender pastors in good standing be appointed and serve as United Methodist pastors. … In the meantime, there is a beautiful audio/video piece on the NPR website . Thank you again for all of your prayers, support, quotes for the press, etc. Let's pack the house this Sunday and celebrate the inclusion of all God's children at the table!"
While I celebrate in this good news and give thanks that the Judicial Council did not disagree with Bishop Schol's rulings of law, it is important to keep in mind that the Judicial Council indicates the scope of its ruling by saying: "In making such a ruling, we do not reach the question of whether gender change is a chargeable offense or violates minimum standards established by the General Conference because that question is not before the Judicial Council." BWARM's continued work is vital.
In receiving news of this Judicial Council decision, I wondered what those who would oppose the appointment of a pastor who is transgender are saying. For example, in a press release ahead of the Judicial Council meetings from the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD): "Even if the Judicial Council cannot decisively rule on the Baltimore transsexual case, we expect the General Conference in 2008 will address it," stated Mark Tooley, IRD's director of UMAction.
Given the continued actions of groups like the IRD, we must include in our prayers of celebration a prayer for continued strength for the work of justice for all of God's people.
Peace in Christ,
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