Recently Read: Gay issues on Judicial Council agenda

Current members of the Judicial Council (from left): Belton Joyner, J. Kabamba Kiboko, N. Oswald Tweh Sr., and Kathi Austin Mahle. Standing from left: Ruben T. Reyes, Dennis Blackwell, Beth Capen, William B. Lawrence and Angela Brown. A UMNS photo by Kathleen Barry.

The Judicial Council, the top court of the The United Methodist Church, recently published the agenda for their October meeting, leading to several articles in the church and secular press.

United Methodist News Service’s (UMNS) Linda Bloom offered an synopsis of the issues in an article on the UMCConnections site:

During the 2013 annual conference season, most conferences in the Western Jurisdiction renewed their support of the “Statement of Gospel Obedience,” which claims the church is in error on the subject of homosexuality’s incompatibility with Christian teaching.

A supporting resolution by the California-Pacific Annual Conference prompted a request for a bishop’s decision of law, resulting in an automatic review by Judicial Council.

Top court to look at rulings on gay-related statements at UMCConnections.org

Katherine Burgess of the Religion News Service likewise outlined some of the issues in a story in the Washington Post:

The Judicial Council hearings come as at least four United Methodist ministers — including the former dean of Yale Divinity School — are facing trial for officiating at same-sex weddings, and more than 1,500 clergy have signed a statement offering to marry gay couples.

The court has no power to change existing church policy — only the quadrennial General Conference can do that — but it can set boundaries on how far clergy and congregations can go in adhering to current policy.

United Methodist high court to consider challenges to gay teachings at WashingtonPost.com

In addition the Judicial Council will be reviewing the changes in organizational structure submitted by several annual conferences, and questions about the episcopacy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Philippines.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and MethoBlog.com. Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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