Connectional Table votes to submit legislation removing prohibitive language on homosexuality

Discipline

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Connectional Table of the United Methodist Church has voted to submit a compromise legislative proposal to the 2016 General Conference that removes prohibitive language from The United Methodist Book of Discipline concerning homosexuality, while making only minor changes to the existing Social Principles.

The proposal would allow United Methodist clergy to perform ceremonies that celebrate same-sex unions in United Methodist churches if they wish; clergy who do not wish to perform such ceremonies would not be required to do so. The proposal also removes being a practicing homosexual or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies from the list of chargeable offenses for clergy. In addition, the proposal removes the language that says the church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers it incompatible with Christian teachings, while recognizing this has historically been the position of the church.

Meeting in Nashville today, The Connectional Table voted 26-10 with one abstention to submit the proposal, which they described as a possible “third way” to help the church end its impasse on homosexuality. The proposal would end church trials over homosexuality, allow the exercise of conscience by United Methodist clergy, yet retain the authority of annual conferences to discern suitability for ordination.

“Part of what I observed throughout the process in Maputo and again today here in Nashville is what I would hope could happen in our congregations, in our living rooms, in our annual conferences and at General Conference – and that is a very thoughtful, respectful heartfelt discussion and earnest desire to discern God’s will,” said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, chairperson of the Connectional Table.

The proposal was drafted by a legislative writing team appointed by the executive committee from among the Connectional Table’s membership, led by The Rev. Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai, a district superintendent in the West Michigan Conference.

In doing their work, the writing team said they grounded themselves with these three theological assertions:
•    The centrality of our mission
•    Our claim to unity for the sake of mission
•    And our identity as Christians and as United Methodists

The Connectional Table’s proposal is expected to be one of many petitions regarding human sexuality that will be considered at the 2016 General Conference.

“Our hope is that it will provide an alternative for the General Conference to consider that helps strengthen the unity of the church and allows us to move forward together as a denomination so that we can focus on our mission,” said Bishop Ough.

Last month, the Commission on the General Conference voted to support an alternative discernment process for dealing with legislative petitions that may benefit from discussion in small groups. Delegates to the 2016 General Conference would have to approve the process.

UMReporter Staff

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Scott
Guest
If the United Methodist Church changes its policy and permits its clergy to conduct gay weddings, the UMC will have officially fallen off the track. At that point, there will be nothing left to do but to abandon this church as it will have abdicated its commitment to orthodox Christianity. United Methodist Christians who are biblical Christians, who are willing to uphold the faith once delivered, need to push back hard against any further attempts to erode the United Methodist Church’s commitment to biblical integrity. I pray that, instead of what happened in the Episcopal Church, this time it will… Read more »
Tim
Guest

Adam Hamilton has gone through several very strange directional changes in his pastoral journey, writing and thoughts with respect to general UMC stances. Nice guy (and an engaging speaker) but still seeking his “position” on a number of issues. On the positive, he is thoughtful.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

That’s a fair assessment. His sermons and books are well-written but at best he’s a moderate.

tim
Guest

Oh yes we all know, except for one person who thinks they know it all.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Wh6y do you feel a need to engage in bullying here?

Tim
Guest

Rev. Adam Hamilton

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I thought so, but I don’t get the reference. I think Hamilton can live with the self-chosen exile of right-wing forces within the UMC rather easily. If that happens though, like others, I am sure he will worry about the children of those mired in political fervor.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Okay, well, hey, thanks. I seldom pay attention to who posted what so if you’re the one who said that was who it was first, thank you, but if you weren’t the one who made the reference, I’m wondering how you knew you were right.

Has Hamilton’s success as a Megachurch mogul who’s also UMC made him an object of rivalry much as Conrad Birdie was in “Bye Bye Birdie” to the teenage boys whose girlfriends were all gaga over the crooner?

Tim
Guest

Well if you “don’t get the reference” ask James and don’t bother me with your rant. By the way would a “thank you” have been too difficult for you to post?

james
Guest
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Link to wrong story, perhaps? No Hamilton here unless you mean the guy on the $10 bill they want from you to fund their hate group.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I don’t engage in magical thinking myself, but, like I said, I doubt Hamilton is losing much sleep over such things. Obscurationist references may matter to the obsessed, but the objects of obsessions are seldom aware of their psychic stalkers.

james
Guest

The reference, Mr. Shuler, is no mistake. The article that it takes the reader to references a stand that one would hope the failing umc would espouse–but I doubt it. As for “Mr. Hamilton,” Tim answered your question. It is my belief that The Holy Writ does not evolve–as Mr. Hamilton has, and, that is a sad commentary. Keep looking up, Mr. Shuler………………………

james
Guest
Thanks to you both. The “greater” umc would do/does business like the libs/progs who run the country–whatever makes them feel right/good/giddy/happy/justified is the only way to do things. Anything that even shows a hint of middle of the road to conservative bent is absolutely positively wrong. And, sometimes, “middle of the roaders” are in danger of being hurt because of the fence they straddle. Only when the total number of umc members worship at the altar of political correctness and radical feminism will the libs/progs be satisfied. In the meantime–pray for the division to be put in motion in 2016.… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Who is this “Mr. Hamilton”?

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

So you don’t know?

John
Guest

Seriously?

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Exactly why the culture of exclusion must be changed. Thank you.

gene tyson
Guest

Goes to show there is no middle ground whereby the left and right can or will meet. Sadly, we are headed for a schism without some kind of divine intervention.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
Maybe, maybe not. I firmly believe such things as the resuls of the Irish referendum on same sex marriage do reflect a divine intervention of sorts in which people are able to let go of old bigotries. Twenty years ago, given the theocratic nature of the political situation there, few would have predicted this result. If there was hope for the Irish (until the official results were confirmed from official sources I still had my doubts that any society so committed to oppression and religious-based hatred could advance so far so fast) there is hope for the UMC. .
Tim
Guest

Amongst the chatter, I ask again – Who in the UMC presently decides what is a “chargeable offense” and what is not? Does anyone know?

Kevin
Guest

Tim
The BoD tells us what chargeable offenses are Para 2702;
Immorality, practices incompatible with Christian teachings including self-avowed practicing homosexual or conducting ceremonies celebrating homosexual unions, crime, disobedience to the order and discipline of The UMC, dissemination of doctrines contrary to the doctrine of The UMC, child abuse, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, harassment, racial or gender discrimination.

Does that help?

Tim
Guest

Thanks Kevin.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Tim, it’s just calling a spade a spade.

Kevin
Guest

TD
Too late for that. Our bishops have made it clear they will not be upholding the discipline. We are headed for some interesting times.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

This is best translated as “We lost! Waaah!”

Tim
Guest

Does this really advance the conversation?

suzanne
Guest

The Connectional Table stated their decision/opinion was grounded on three theological assertions, none of which mentions the Word of God. Figures.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Did you know the original “Pledge of Allegiance” did NOT contain the words “Under God”? Those words were added by Congress in the 1950s to play to religious fears over the atheistic origins of communism and fool a gullible public. From the original text of the Pledge, it was in no way implied invoking deity was the author’s intention. In this situation however it’s apparent the blessing of deity is implied in each of the three theological assertions.

Wisdom
Guest

I understand you find ‘under God’ objectionable, but don’t understand your analogy.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
No, I do not believe you understand what I find objectionable at all. I never said I find the phrase”under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to be objectionable.Moreover, the context of what I said in no way implies that I do. Your assertion that I find that phrase objectionable is a bearing of false witness against me. Now, “Suzanne” said “The Connectional Table stated their decision/opinion was grounded on three theological assertions, none of which mentions the Word of God. Figures.” I merely pointed out the Pledge does not either. Do you not see the analogy as plain as… Read more »
DW
Guest

Capiche is actually the ONLY thing I understood in this post. Maybe you should start imparting your wisdom in Italian.

Wes Andrews
Guest

That’s right…… let’s just despise God won’t don’t we…… but those of us who are grateful say… Thank you, Creator!

suzanne
Guest

If conservative Bible believing Methodists desire to stop this leftist progressive apostasy, they need to organize, get their act together, follow Biblical principles and speak out. The Presbyterian Church is splitting apart because of junk like this. New Presbyterian churches are sprouting up, other Pres. churches are going to court for dismissal from the Presbyterian Church USA. Go to ‘The Layman’ site for more info.

Elaine T.
Guest

This is already happening in the UMC. I know of a church that is in the process.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I don’t think that characterization is accurate. The “splitting apart” is all the work of those who refuse to acknowledge reality.

Suzanne
Guest

Reality? Which reality do you speak of? Which reality do you exist in? Which reality matters?

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

There is only one reality for all practical purposes. It is not realistic to continue the irrational policy of bigotry toward LGBTs.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
Ah. The old some of my best friends are..” defense. So you hold yourself, you say, to a higher standard of behavior than you hold deity, then? My church is doing quite fine in advancing human rights, thank you, but the UMC as a whole is mired in backwardness and hatemongering with our awful language in the so-called Book of Discipline. Thanks for playing. Those who say they have gay friends but loudly espouse how those friends are not nearly as worthy as they are often become surprised upon learning these friends tolerate them in spite of their vicious behavior… Read more »
Suzanne
Guest

Didn’t expect a bomb throwing pejorative response. Guess your eyes and ears have been ‘fixed’ on this serious issue. Why not start your own church. Happens all the time; many new churches grow and prosper in Christ’s Kingdom. By the way, I have close friends who are homosexual and employ homosexuals, several at key positions in my company. But in Christ’s Kingdom, at the altar of God, there’s a different standard than our ever changing secular/cultural world.

Wes Andrews
Guest
suzanne, those in the UMC who trust in the authority of Scripture have been speaking out, have been making a stand, have been organizing. Everything they/we have done has been completely above board, while the progressives have been doing everything below board. They have patiently and quietly populated the agencies, universities and colleges, seminaries, and have been voting in their Bishops all “in sheep clothing.” And have gotten paid by the laity they despise. Those who have trusted in the authority of Scripture have dominated the General Conferences for the past 40 plus years. We have honor our vows. Meanwhile… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Do we perform gay marriages in UMC churches? Do we ordain LGB clergy without having them run through a gauntlet of right-wing oppressors? No? Then your so-called “appeasements” aren’t worth bupkis.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Good.

David Goudie
Guest

Yes …we have had same sex marriages in the UMC ..look at the growing numbers of ‘just resolutions’ …which look the other way or Evenr rward those who do …and as far as ordination without the gauntlet the answer at least iny conference up is yes …because BOM …offten is stocked with clergy in favor of changing discipline.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

There’s been no “neighborly love” shown by the right-wing whatsoever.

Wes Andrews
Guest

TD……. well said,….. well said….

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

LOL! The right-wing UMC rump parliament uses modern community organizing techniques funded by millions in dark money. The odious Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD) is run by a board of directors the majority of which are Roman Catholics with a goal to wreak havoc in the Mainline churches. They provide cell phones at GC for those whose votes they control! These assertions are essentially telling those splayed with offensive fluids that it’s raining.

Wes Andrews
Guest

George, you live in a fantasy world…

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I wish. Unfortunately we live in a world where right-wing extremists claim to speak for God and seek to make life miserable for those who know they don’t. That’s OK. In America we have the freedom to tell them they are full of beans, and their false assertions they themselves are victims of oppression are recongnized for the prevarications that they are.

Tim
Guest

As a point of information – Who in the UMC presently decides what is “chargeable offenses” and what is not?

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