One Church Plan Critique – Petition #4

From Wesley White’s Critique of the One Church Plan

Qualifications for Ordination – Par. 304.3

Here is an attempt to put the political weight of a bishop behind the pressuring of a Board of Ordained Ministry to turn a blind-eye to the removal of the “incompatibility” clause and carve out an annual conference exception.

Amend ¶ 304.3 as follows:

  1. While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The responsibility for determining how standards, including standards related to human sexuality, may apply to certification or ordination in a given annual conference falls to the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and the clergy session of the annual conference. The bishop may choose to seek the non-binding advice of an annual conference session on standards relating to human sexuality for ordination to inform the Board of Ordained Ministry in its work. The practice of homosexuality incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexual persons are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as minister or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church.
  • While it is good to see the weed seed of our current division over human sexuality dug out of our Book of Discipline, it remains immensely disappointing that the bargain being struck for its removal is a local option to keep nurturing its discord at every level of the church.
  • Given the action to remove the “incompatibility” clause and its extension into ordination standards, the only reason for bishop-sponsored advice to a Board of Ordained Ministry is to reinstate a ban on LGBTQ+ ordinands informally.
  • This reveals that “religious liberty” is not just a matter of individual conscience but part of an organized attempt to keep the Grace of a good gift from G*D at bay within the institutional church.
  • I recommend simply striking the last two sentences from the current ¶304.3 so it would read:
  1. While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world.
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