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Layman files complaint against Denver bishop

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  • U.M. Cornet
    CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE Layman files complaint against Denver bishop May 27, 1999 News media contact: Linda Bloom*(212) 870-3803*New York By United
    Message 1 of 1 , May 28, 1999
      CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE


      Layman files complaint against Denver bishop

      May 27, 1999 News media contact: Linda Bloom*(212) 870-3803*New York

      By United Methodist News Service

      A complaint filed against United Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of Denver
      will be reviewed by her peers in the denomination's Western Jurisdiction.

      Mel Brown, a layman from Johnstown, Colo., made two charges against Swenson
      in a letter to Bishop Ed Paup of Portland, Ore., president of the Western
      Jurisdiction College of Bishops.

      Brown said he had complained to Swenson on Aug. 28 that the Rev. Toni Cook,
      pastor of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Denver, "has been conducting
      same-sex marriages for some time" but that he had received no response from
      Swenson about his complaint. His second charge is that Swenson "supported" a
      lecture by a controversial theologian, Marcus Borg, at United
      Methodist-related Iliff School of Theology.

      Last August, the Judicial Council, the denomination's supreme court,
      declared that a statement in the Book of Discipline prohibiting same-sex
      union ceremonies constituted church law and that violation of it could be a
      chargeable offense. No specifics have been offered about when Cook allegedly
      conducted such ceremonies.

      Speaking for Swenson, the Rev. Gary Keene told United Methodist News Service
      on May 27 that the bishop's office has been "in a long-term dialogue with
      Mr. Brown." Keene, who is area director of ministries, said that Brown's
      conduct toward Swenson during her seven-year tenure as bishop in the Denver
      area "constitutes harassment." But, he added, "we're not responding in kind.
      We're trying to respond as the church."

      Bishop William Dew of Phoenix has been assigned by Paup to handle the
      complaint. Dew told United Methodist News Service he would attempt to
      resolve the situation "by mutual understanding." He said he was sending a
      letter to Brown on May 27 and would have one-on-one conversations with Brown
      and Swenson in June, as required by the Discipline. "If necessary, I will
      goto Colorado and have the two of them meet face to face," Dew added.
      # # #

      United Methodist News Service
      (615)742-5470
      Releases and photos also available at
      http://www.umc.org/umns/



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