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PRN's Response to Judicial Council Ruling (Complete Statement)

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    CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE From the Parents Reconciling Network (PRN) ... Official Statement in Full Parents Reconciling Network s Response to Judicial
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2001
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      CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE

      From the Parents' Reconciling Network (PRN)

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Official Statement in Full

      Parents' Reconciling Network's Response to Judicial Council Ruling

      The Parents Reconciling Network expresses cautious support for the
      United Methodist Judicial Council decision that spells out due
      process and stresses that decisions regarding the standing of clergy
      should be made by the annual conferences. The decision, though
      narrow, appropriately focused on process and not on the validity of
      Discipline statements regarding the church's stance on homosexuality.

      PRN believes this action is a step in the right direction because it
      honors the directive in the Discipline that gives the duty of
      determining the gifts and graces of clergy to Annual Conferences. The
      ruling briefly outlines the steps in the review process to be
      followed by Annual Conferences and rules out summary action without
      due process. This process
      should offer a measure of protection to gay and lesbian clergy.

      However, Jamie B. Stroud of Philadelphia, national coordinator of
      PRN, said the parents group is concerned because this decision
      implies that Gay and Lesbian clergy should not be considered in good
      standing if they are "self-avowed and practicing." She said this
      position could further divide churches and the denomination if annual
      conferences react with bigotry.

      This decision underscores the absurdity of the General Conference
      policies regarding clergy qualifications by making how clergy members
      use their genitals a prime determinant of whether they should be
      considered to be in good standing. This seems an inappropriate topic
      for discussion by Annual Conferences.

      A significant number of United Methodist clergy are Lesbian and Gay
      persons, many of whom are among the finest and most gifted ministers
      in the denomination. Some are closeted and others are openly Gay or
      Lesbian. The denomination's stance on homosexuality affects all of
      them and their parents. It also affects the heterosexual clergy who
      work with and appreciate the gifts of their Gay and Lesbian
      colleagues.

      This council decision does nothing to lessen the silliness of the
      current UM Igniting Ministries campaign, in which United Methodist
      churches are characterized as having open hearts, open minds, open
      doors. But in light of the issue of homosexuality, open hearts, open
      minds, open doors will continue to mean different things from church
      to church and conference to conference across the country.

      Our Gay and Lesbian children were baptized in the United Methodist
      Church. They grew up in the church and participated in United
      Methodist Youth Fellowship. They helped lead worship services and
      taught Sunday School. They sang in the choir. They were confirmed as
      full members as teenagers and young adults. Many of them went on to
      graduate from seminary and were ordained as elders in the United
      Methodist Church.

      They were never taught that their baptism and church membership were
      conditional, and we, their parents, continue to share their pain and
      disappointment when they learn that their baptism and membership in
      the United Methodist Church does not really mean they can participate
      fully in the life of the denomination.

      PRN hopes that this Judicial Council decision will make it possible
      for increased acceptance of all within the denomination and will make
      it possible for our Gay and Lesbian children, both lay and clergy, to
      remain in the denomination in which they have grown up and to serve
      the churches to which they have been appointed.

      The Parents' Reconciling Network
      3801 North Keeler Avenue, Chicago, IL 60641 (773) 736-5526




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