Recently 33 retired United Methodist Bishops issued a statement that calls the church to reconsider Paragraph 304.3 from The Book of Discipline (2008)
“…the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”
In the statement they raise a number of issues such as the gifts and graces for ministry that God has given all people, the loss of members due to this position (including many of the younger generation), the closeting of gay and lesbian pastors who are already in our system, the draining of the energy of bishops who disagree with the paragraph and are required to live in a way that is contrary to their convictions,
the conflict between upholding the Book of Discipline and caring for effective gay or lesbian pastors, the call for greater flexibility from the some seminary leaders,
and the stress it places upon gay and lesbian pastors who feel called to seek ministry in the UMC but have to choose between leaving, staying and praying or challenging the BOD and accepting punitive actions.
This statement has raised many questions in the minds of United Methodists across the globe. This is a time for the church to enter into dialog, seek understanding, examine our priorities and renew our efforts to pray for Christian unity.
For the full text of my response read my blog for this week: