One Church Plan Critique – Petitions #11 & 12

From Wesley White’s Critique of the One Church Plan

One Church Plan #11

Responsibilities of Bishops – Par. 416

While it is good to see the limits of bishops specified regarding what is otherwise guarded by other parts of the Discipline, it seems strange that bishops would need to be reminded of the rights of clergy regarding officiating at a marriage and the inappropriateness of interfering with that. Delegates may want to add other “Duh!” statements to the end of the other sections of ¶¶414–416.

Amend ¶ 416 by adding new sub-paragraphs after 416.7:

  1. The bishop shall neither require any pastor to perform nor prohibit any pastor from performing any marriage, union, or blessing of same-sex couples.
  2. The bishop shall neither require any church to hold nor prohibit any church from holding a same-sex marriage service on church property.
  • What a difference it would be if this petition were not phrased in relation to same-sex marriage but present disciplinary language. It might run something like this

The bishop shall neither require any pastor to perform nor prohibit any pastor from performing any marriage, union, or blessing that gives evidence of love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity.

  • In its present form, this petition is evidence of our current fixation upon “same-sex.” Someday we may come to a new acronym—LGBTQH+ where H=heterosexual—on our way to getting rid of such an awkward way to say simply, “All people.”
  • Imagine this approach being applied to the bishops with an amendment of ¶414.3—

The church shall neither require any bishop nor prohibit any bishop from guarding, transmitting, teaching, and proclaiming, corporately and individually, the apostolic faith as it is expressed in Scripture and tradition, and, as they are led and endowed by the Spirit, to interpret that faith evangelically and prophetically.

  • Silly. Right?

 

One Church Plan #12

Responsibilities of District Superintendents – Par. 419

This is a repeat of Petition 11 but focused on those who oversee clergy and congregations on behalf of a bishop. This is a logical extension of the previous petition but, again, not needed if District Superintendents knew the relevant parts of the Discipline.

Amend ¶ 419 by adding new sub-paragraphs after 419.12:

  1. The superintendent shall neither require any pastor to perform nor prohibit any pastor from performing any marriage, union, or blessing of same-sex couples.
  2. The superintendent shall neither require any church to hold nor prohibit any church from holding a same-sex marriage service on church property or otherwise coerce, threaten, or retaliate against any pastor who exercises his or her conscience to perform or refuse to perform a same-sex marriage.
  • Both petitions 11 and 12 are already covered by other parts of the Discipline and, in the context of this specially-called General Conference, only serve to excuse those who “do not condone” non-heterosexual marriages from their pastoral duty of identifying and rejoicing in relationships of love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity.

 

 

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