Spectators pray, sing at Judicial Council

By Kathy L. Gilbert
April 25, 2017 | NEWARK, N.J. (UMNS)

People started lining up at 6 a.m. and three hours later, more than 200 people filled two rooms in the Hilton Newark Penn Station hotel to hear arguments about whether the election of a gay bishop follows or defies The United Methodist Church’s law.Mountain Sky Area Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s only openly gay bishop, was not named in the legal documents and did not speak during the three-hour Judicial Council hearing on April 25. But any ruling could affect Oliveto, who was elected and consecrated bishop by the Western Jurisdiction in July 2016.Despite the divisiveness in the church over the role of LGBTQ people in the denomination, the hearing was respectful and peaceful.

Many in attendance were members of the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus. Dressed in white robes, they silently filed into the meeting room before the hearing convened to pray over all those present.

When the hearing ended, they filled the room again to pray, sing and hold Holy Communion.

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