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No discipline, in The Discipline

by Russ Fitch

The members of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, in covenant with one another, publicly went on record during the critical time in April and May of '998, when our Book of Discipline was being challenged by a small number of clergy, intent on performing same sex unions. The small clergy groups actions resulted in great violence and injury to our church. At that time,the Council of Bishops, expresses their intent:

"to uphold the General Conference's action on the theological, ethical, and polity matters defined in The Book of Discipline, including the statements on homosexuality and all specified issues contained in the Social Principles including the prohibition of ceremonies celebrating homosexual unions by our ministers and in our churches."

This was important for the whole church and was a source of encouragement for the United Methodist Church.

In the Bishop's Pastoral Letter, they called for:

"renewed commitment to our doctrinal foundations as contained in the Articles of Religion, the Confession of Faith, and Wesley's Sermons and Notes."

In their letter, the Bishops continued to give The United Methodist Church assurance of their:

"individual and corporate commitment to proclaim, defend, and live the doctrines, order, and mission of the church."

Ms. Morrison's statements, most recently released in view of the Vermont Court ruling, breaks the solemn covenant she entered into with Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. In doing so, she has raised questions about her integrity and commitment to the office of Bishop of the United Methodist Church.

Ms. Morrison is not the only Bishop who has broken the covenant established in the Pastoral Letter. Since we have not seen the lawlessness of these Bishops deminish, we can only believe Bishops are each accountable only to themselves. This is not only unwise but UnScriptural. As Executives, responsible for upholding the Discipline, the conclusion is there is no discipline, in The Discipline.

Grace and Peace,

Russ Fitch
Troy Conference

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