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