Western Jurisdiction Declaration
Meeting together July 18 - 20, 2012 in San Diego, California, the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church adopted several resolutions, which together declare:
The Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church apologizes for the actions of the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church which perpetuated marginalization of LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and ambiguous) persons and continues to dehumanize and demonize our LGBTQIO sisters and brothers. We are deeply sorry and ask for forgiveness.
In response to our common belief that God's grace and love are available to all persons, the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church states our belief that the United Methodist Church is in error on the subject of "homosexuality's incompatibility with Christian teaching." [Paragraph 161F of the United Methodist Discipline.] We commend to our bishops, clergy, local churches and ministry settings the challenge to operate as if the statement in Paragraph 161F does not exist, creating a church where all people are truly welcome.
We urge the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops to develop a concrete action plan for the Western Jurisdiction to operate as a jurisdiction that upholds full inclusion in every aspect of our ministry.
The Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops has acted, creating a new area of commitment, a Strategic Plan for Biblical Obedience, to be chaired by Retired Bishop Melvin Talbert. The language of "Biblical Obedience" is now being used to highlight the differences between our Christian call to treat all people as beloved children of God and the church's demand that we discriminate against LGBTQIA people. The bishops are taking it as their responsibility to provide leadership as we live into Biblical Obedience in the Western Jurisdiction.
Finally, the Western jurisdiction declared that it is the sense of the jurisdiction that if any bishop of the Western Jurisdiction be charged, tried, and convicted of ordaining or appointing a "self-avowed practicing homosexual,” an appropriate penalty for the trial court to assign would be a suspension from the exercise of Episcopal office for a period of 24 consecutive hours.
The United Methodist Church in the United States is divided into five geographic areas, called jurisdictions. The Western Jurisdiction includes eight regional (annual) conferences consisting of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Guam, and Pacific Island Territories. The Western Jurisdiction meets as a legislative body once every four years.
Supports for ban on workplace bias
June 14, 2012
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s Board of Church and Society is among 37 religious groups to sign a letter in support of legislation banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. “We urge Congress to swiftly pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 811) and ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have an equal opportunity to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families,” the letter says.
WE WILL NOT BE SILENT
A DECLARATION FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN CONFERENCE
OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
WHEREAS the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church retained language in the Book of Discipline which continues to discriminate against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons; and
WHEREAS we believe that LGBT persons should be joyfully embraced as members of the body of Christ, as United Methodists in full standing, and as gifted children of God entitled equally to all of the ministries, ceremonies, and sacraments of the United Methodist Church; and
WHEREAS the Rocky Mountain Conference has affirmed the We Will Not Be Silent statement adopted by the United Methodist Western Jurisdictional Conference in 2000 and has affirmed amplifications of that statement in subsequent actions,
Therefore be it resolved that the Rocky Mountain Conference reaffirm its historic commitment to the full civil and ecclesiastical rights and privileges of all persons including LGBT persons, and declares its opposition to continued restrictions of church law on the participation of LGBT people in The United Methodist Church; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Rocky Mountain Conference looks forward to the leadership of our Annual Conference and the Western Jurisdiction Conference in formulating an action plan for a new day in our denomination, based on the 2000 and 2004 statements, We Will Not Be Silent, and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church invites the United Methodist communities within our region to work joyously and boldly together to build a fully inclusive church. We commit to be in ministry with all people, regardless of their economic status, race, age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, or immigration status. To this end, we, as a Conference, reaffirm our commitment to evangelism which includes sharing the embracing love of Jesus with all those who live within our boundaries.
No other marginalized group has been singled out in the Book of Discipline for discrimination or special exclusionary treatment. We believe this is in conflict with our traditional and historic emphasis on God’s grace being available to all. The discriminatory language is itself in conflict with the inclusive language in other parts of the Book of Discipline, including the Constitution of our denomination.
Footnote: The full texts of the Western Jurisdiction’s 2000 and 2004 We Will Not Be Silent statements are contained on pages 86-87 of the Journal of the Seventeenth Session of the Western Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church, 2004, which may be found at:
Western Jurisdiction should take ‘executive action’ on gay rights
June 23, 2012 Posted by Gilbert Caldwell, Special Contributor …
I have just received the “WE WILL NOT BE SILENT” statement approved by the Rocky Mountain Conference. I was particularly inspired by these words: “RESOLVED, that the Rocky Mountain Conference looks forward to the leadership of our annual Annual Conference and the Western Jurisdiction Conference in formulating an action plan for a new day in our denomination, based on the 2000 and 2004 statements, We Will Not Be Silent …”
Same-sex union trial controversy continues
Update: The Judicial Council, The United Methodist Church’s top court, plans to take up at its next session in October questions of law regarding the proposed clergy covenant team in the Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference. Wisconsin Area Bishop Linda Lee on July 2 sent to the church court her ruling that the questions of law are hypothetical and therefore was not properly before the annual conference. The Judicial Council automatically reviews rulings on questions of law.
3:00 P.M. ET June 26, 2012
A year ago, a jury of 13 Wisconsin clergy convicted the Rev. Amy DeLong of performing a same-sex union and sentenced her to a 20-day suspension and a yearlong process to “restore the broken clergy covenant relationship.”
Now, she plans to join a team she initiated that will determine what the United Methodist clergy covenant should look like in the Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference.
Jeanne Knepper retired this year.
THE CALL, 35 YEARS AND COUNTING
By Jeanne Knepper
“Take my hand . . .” Five years after the church spoke “incompatible,” Jesus reached through time, space, and consciousness, calling me to journey on an entwined pathway of ordained ministry and lesbian relationship, not that I understood that fully when I said, “Yes.”
1980, 84, 88, 92. The quadrennial struggle, feeling I am called to contain the irreconcilable within myself, walking two paths that the church insists, must diverge. Tears, journaling, prayer and dialog: “What would you have me do?” “Keep coming. I am with you.” Strong friendships, and stronger faith, formed in life and work on the margins.
1993. Begin Shalom Ministries, ministry at the edge. Take my quaking self to Atlanta to stand up before the Judicial Council. Made available for appointment.
An understanding: this work is worth a lifetime, my lifetime.
A vision given: Ask the wall, person by person, to transform itself into an arch. Immense gratitude for all those who make this journey their own. No one does the work alone.
1996. Fifteen bishops speak out at General Conference. One of them, William Dew, ordains me. I am forever grateful.
A principle given: Let those who support unjust law, enforce unjust law. Do not do their work for them. Stay balanced. Be trustworthy. Call everyone a colleague.
2001. Appointed to serve University Park UMC. Oh, my God, what joy!
In the midst of it all, ministry: Love, listen, speak, stretch, laugh, grow. Learn to be kind. Stop seeking credit. Cultivate gratitude. Scream into my pillow and rise to care for the vulnerable. Follow Christ deeper into compassion, deeper into resistance.
Never stop dancing. Play. Listen whenever the red tail calls. Go outside. Don’t let go. Be ever grateful for love received, for daughters and sons-in-law, for grandchildren and for a sweet giggle-mate, partner and friend-for-life. There is so much goodness.
Claim recess, but know this: The road bends but doesn’t end. We still walk hand in hand. It is a blessing beyond words.
Longtime gay minister, Jeanne Knepper, retires as church struggles over issue
Published: Saturday, June 30, 2012, 10:00 AM
For 19 years, Jeanne Knepper, 64, has worked day and night at a job some peers say she's unfit to perform.
As a lesbian in a 14-year relationship, she leads a lifestyle that is, according to The United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline, "incompatible with Christian teaching." In May delegates to the denomination's 2012 General Conference meeting in Tampa, Fla., refused to adopt language reflecting that they don't agree on this point.
NORMAN — A United Methodist church is reaching out to the community through a series of videos produced with help from University of Oklahoma students.
St. Stephen's United Methodist Church, 1801 W Brooks, produced 10 videos as part of its “It Gets Better” project.
The Rev. Amy Venable, the church's pastor, said the videos, launched in May, are designed to combat bullying and to help promote the church's Reconciling Ministry, which welcomes the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community.
Conferences reject church’s stance on gays
3:00 P.M. ET July 18, 2012
Rejecting the denomination’s stance on gay rights and same-sex marriage were important issues for at least 15 United Methodist annual (regional) conferences this summer.
United Methodists from Washington and the northern panhandle of Idaho approved legislation supporting the Marriage Equality Act.
Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference
July 19, 2012
A Statement of Principle
Be it Resolved, that the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference affirms its commitment to the civil and ecclesiastical rights and privileges of all persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, and declares its passionate opposition to continued distinctions of church law that restrict the rights and privileges of LGBT people in The United Methodist Church; and be it further
Resolved, that the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, acknowledging the grave pastoral crisis facing the church at all levels with regard to the pastoral care of LGBT people, acknowledge that clergy, lay persons and congregations encountering institutional discrimination that inhibits equal access to the means of grace for all persons may feel bound by conscience to offer the ministries and sacraments of the church to all persons on an equal basis. Those who so act according to conscience do so in a way that is consistent with the principles of this jurisdictional conference; and be it further
Resolved, that the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference acknowledge that leaders of the conferences that comprise our jurisdiction, including cabinet members, bishops and members of boards and agencies of the annual conference, while bound to the Book of Discipline, are also bound to exercise their consciences and are bound by Jesus’ commandment to stand with the marginalized and the oppressed in our midst when called upon to enforce unjust laws, policies and procedures to the detriment of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals wishing to participate fully in the life of The United Methodist Church and those who minister faithfully to them; and be it further
Resolved, that the jurisdictional conference recognize that individuals who take punitive actions against others for offering the sacraments and rituals of the church on an equal basis do so contrary to the highest ideals of the United Methodist Church at the risk of causing grave harm to LGBT persons, their loved ones, their sisters and brothers in Christ, faithful clergy and the United Methodist Church itself.
Adopted by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, July 19, 2012.
July 20, 2012
The following petition was passed by the body by an overwhelming majority.
A Statement of Gospel Obedience
In response to our common belief that God’s grace and love is available to all persons, the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church states our belief that the United Methodist Church is in error on the subject of “homosexuality’s incompatibility with Christian teaching.”
The rest of the statement is at:
Western Jurisdiction: Gay issue stand wrong
11:00 A.M. ET July 26, 2012 | SAN DIEGO (UMNS)
Bishop Minerva Carcaño addresses the Western Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church during its meeting in San Diego. UMNS photos courtesy of the Pacific Northwest Conference Communications Team.
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The Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church) has issued a “Statement of Gospel Obedience” that emphasizes Christ’s grace and love is available to all and that The United Methodist Church is in error on the subject of “homosexuality’s incompatibility with Christian teaching.”
Delegates to the jurisdictional meeting July 18-21 voted to extend “extravagant hospitality” to all people including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or persons whose gender expression is ambiguous.
July 27, 2012
As delegations prepared themselves for jurisdictional conference, many people anticipated that the Western Jurisdiction would respond in some way to the reluctance of the General Conference to acknowledge the diversity of opinion that exists on the topic of human sexuality. Since the defeat of the Hamilton-Slaughter Amendment (Click to read) some have hoped for and sensed a growing passion for a ‘Church in the West’ that embraces a more progressive, and some have said prophetic, vision for what the church could be.
By Artie Van Why
I was raised a Methodist and have been a loyal member of my current UM church, but I am leaving the denomination. I am leaving because I’m gay and I’ve finally had enough of the denomination’s pretense of welcoming the gay community.
It’s time someone called the denomination on its blatant doublespeak, so I will gladly step up to the plate.
“Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.” is the denomination’s seemingly ingenuous welcoming catch phrase. However, when it comes to the gay community the denomination's heart, mind and door is only open to us if we play by their rules.
July 27, 2012
Institutions make me itchy. See, God has planted within me a deep mistrust for human authority (which is how I know God has wicked sense of humor since God also has given me a cop for a wife, but I digress). I get all itchy when I see what for all the world looks to me like the ways institutions create more barriers to relationship with God than they do open doors. This raw wool scarf that has wrapped itself around my mind goes all sandpapery when it seems to my suspicious eyes like a book of rules written by humans (to frame who is in and who is out) is more highly regarded and more often discussed than the Gospel. Which leads to a question I ask with some regularity. Why are you still a ________? There are Christian churches, whole denominations, where you are affirmed and welcomed into the full life of the church. So what is it about being _____ that is still so compelling? (Yeah, I hear the judgment in my voice too, sigh).
August 24, 2012
His activities have made him the target of Good News and the Confessing Movement, which are now demanding that he be censured by the Council of Bishops.
Sam Hodges of the United Methodist Reporter has posted an excellent, comprehensive article on the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between conservative or traditional United Methodists opposed to the acceptance of homosexuality and liberal or progressive clergy and laity who promote LGBT rights in the name of love and justice.
Clergy, laity group asks censure of Bishop Talbert over gay rights activism
August 24, 2012 Posted by Sam Hodges, Managing Editor
Some United Methodist clergy and laity are calling on the Council of Bishops to censure retired Bishop Melvin Talbert for encouraging clergy to go against the Book of Discipline by officiating at same-sex unions.
The 70-plus member group, including leaders of the Good News and Confessing Movement caucuses, made their appeal in a letter sent to all bishops.
Bishop Talbert could not immediately be reached for comment.
The letter asks the executive committee of the Council of Bishops to file a formal complaint against Bishop Talbert. It also asks that a handful of other bishops, some active and retired, be censured if they don’t issue statements repudiating Bishop Talbert’s call for clergy to perform same-sex unions.
August 28, 2012
Church conflict hurts the Gospel. Duh! Who would want to be one of Jesus’ followers if this is how we treat each other? As a District Superintendent I spend a lot of time dealing with disgruntled pastors and church members. It is the infamous triangle: “We can’t talk directly to each other so we’ll dump our issues on you.” Well, in our connectional system that’s the way that the dots connect, and DS’ are major dumping grounds. A healthy outcome largely depends on how I respond to the conflict.
Acts of Repentance guide stresses healing
[How long with LGBTQ people have to wait for their Act of Repentance? Called Out Eds.]
3:00 P.M. ET August 28, 2012
“Repentance by itself makes the repentant feel good. We cannot just apologize. We need to focus on healing relationships. And then we need to realize that the learning is just beginning.”
Blenda Smith speaks from experience. The white laywoman from the Upper New York Annual (regional) Conference has served as a director of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns since 2004. Smith said she has moved from “cluelessness” to awareness, especially about the concerns of Native Americans and other indigenous people.
by Steve Clunn
September 7, 2012
In a July 19, 2012 letter drafted and endorsed by ultra conservative members of the unofficial United Methodist "Renew and Reform Coalition" groups (Good News, Renew, Confessing Movement within the UMC, Lifewatch, Transforming Congregations and the United Methodist Action unit of the Institute for Religion and Democracy), the Council of Bishops is being asked to "publicly censure" Bishop Melvin Talbert and "file a formal complaint against him under ¶ 2702 (e) [disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church in violating his responsibility to uphold that order and discipline], ¶ 2702 (f) [dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The United Methodist Church], and ¶ 2702 (g) [engaging in behavior that undermines the ministry of another pastor]."