Business of the Conference – Par. 605
It is funny to watch the church attempt to schedule Grace, Mercy, and Justice. Generally, we don’t bind future decisions by a present one because we have noticed that G*D works on a different timeline than ours. It’s hard enough to keep up with where G*D has been, much less where G*D now is. This petition authorizes a freezing of wisdom for 30 months—and by 30 months we mean 3 years because of annual meeting schedules.
Amend ¶ 605 by adding new sub-paragraph after 605.9 as follows:
- At any clergy session of an annual conference, the chairperson of the Board of Ordained Ministry shall, if directed by a vote of the Board of Ordained Ministry, present a motion regarding certification, ordination, and appointment of self-avowed practicing homosexuals. Provided, however, that any clergy session of an annual conference that votes on such matters shall not, without the consent of the presiding bishop, take up any subsequent motion on that issue during any called or special session of annual conference held within 30 full calendar months from the date of such vote regardless of the outcome.
- If General Conference should remove the “incompatibility” clause from the Book of Discipline, the only reason to have a motion such as this is to direct the Board of Ordained Ministry not to accept any LGBTQ+ candidates.
- If this passes, an annual conference will be able to return us to the position we are currently in, deciding for G*D which category of people is not eligible to receive the call and gifts and graces for ordained ministry.
- This petition falls into the speaking-out-of-both-sides-of-our-mouth. Of course, that is something The United Methodist Church has excelled in ever since the “incompatibility” clause passed. Case in point are these two back-to-back sentences in ¶ 161.f:
The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to anyone.
- This petition effectively returns the “incompatibility” clause to annual conferences after it has been removed from General Conference documents. In so doing it repeats the intent of Jim Crow laws in a new setting. This is what local option means—pockets of discrimination in congregations, districts, and annual conferences. Wherever a majority can do an end-run around the absence of formal approbation of LGBTQ+ persons—the infection of “incompatibility” is reestablished.