At least two regional bodies of the United Methodist Church have reaffirmed their refusal to enforce the Mainline Protestant denomination’s prohibition on non-celibate homosexual clergy.
In April, the United Methodist Judicial Council, the Church’s highest court, ruled that boards of ordained ministry must consider all qualifications for a clergy candidate, including questions of sexual ethics.
The New York and Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences have declared that they do not intend to change their boards’ decision to not ask clergy candidates questions about their sexual practices.
“We reaffirm our statement from March 1, 2016, in its entirety,” stated the New York Annual Conference, referring to their original declaration of refusing to include questions about sexuality in their ordination candidacy process.
“We recognize that other Boards of Ordained Ministry and Conferences have taken a similar stance against the denomination’s unjust position regarding issues of human sexuality. We stand in solidarity with them and encourage others to join us.”
The Christian Post contacted the New York Annual Conference for comment on this story but they were unable to provide a response by press time.
The United Methodist News Service reported that the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference has also reaffirmed its earlier position, with five other annual conferences possibly joining them.
Although the UMC Book of Discipline states that non-celibate homosexuals cannot be ordained, last year multiple regional conferences openly opposed the rule.
“The Oregon-Idaho conference board of ordained ministry joined Northern Illinois, Baltimore-Washington, Pacific Northwest and New York to consider all candidates for ministry without regard for their sexual orientations and gender identities,” reported UMNS last summer.
“The New York conference ordained four openly gay clergy. The California-Nevada and California-Pacific conferences endorsed two openly gay clergy as bishop candidates and the Rocky Mountain Conference passed a resolution that sexual orientation and gender identity should not be a bar to election to the episcopacy.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post