What a great reminder that love does, indeed, win as shown in the Judicial Council decision which affirmed Rev. Frank Schaefer’s reinstatement as clergy. There were also a number of other docket items that have an impact on the Reconciling movement, some of which were deferred until April 2015. Read below for a short explanation of each relevant decision.
- Decision No. 1283 – Baltimore-Washington Conference – The Judicial Council affirmed the conclusion that a resolution titled “Agree to Disagree on Issues Pertaining to Gender and Sexual Minorities” does not violate the Discipline. The resolution includes the encouragement for the conference to “Consider refraining from using its resources to investigate or enforce a ban on marriages between gender and sexual minorities, or for church trials, or for otherwise disciplining clergy that perform same-sex marriages.” Read more at: http://bit.ly/1v5MG9L
- Decision No. 1285 – Baltimore-Washington Conference – The Judicial Council affirmed the Bishop’s ruling regarding the validity of the voting procedure for five positive resolutions for full inclusion regarding human sexuality. The Judicial Council modified the Bishop’s ruling where the Judicial Council had no jurisdiction to respond. Read more at: http://bit.ly/10vupem
- Decision No. 1284 – Northern Illinois Conference – The Judicial Council reversed the Bishop’s ruling in response to hypothetical questions made regarding the “In Support of Marriage Equality” document. The directed pointed to the Bishop had no clear relationship to the Marriage Equality document and thus have no effect. Read more at: http://bit.ly/1tAMy5n
- Decision No. 1286 – Eastern Pennsylvania Conference – The Judicial Council reversed the Bishop’s ruling regarding whether or not “members of the Board of Ordained Ministry who have made conscientious statements in public that they cannot and will not uphold the Discipline, namely those who participated in the Arch Street same-gender wedding” can legally remain on the Board of Ordained Ministry. The Bishop’s ruling was “moot and hypothetical” and the Judicial Council clarified that a potential unwillingness to abide by the Discipline is not a chargeable offense. Read more at: http://bit.ly/1rNbVN4
- Decision No. 1287 – College of Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction – The Judicial Council declares that a complaint against a Bishop may be handled initially through the supervisory process seeking just resolution. If just resolution cannot be achieved, the involved parties may initiate an administrative complaint or a judicial complaint. Read more at: http://bit.ly/1zdO2Ww
- Decision No. 1288 – Detroit Annual Conference – The Judicial Council deferred until April 2015 a decision on the Bishop’s ruling declaring that language in a 2014 Detroit Annual Conference resolution to support lay members who chose same-sex marriage is aspirational, as well as her ruling “null and void” the call to stop filing complaints against those accused of violating church law or enforcing those laws.
- Decision No. 1289 – New England Annual Conference – The Judicial Council deferred until April 2015 a decision on the Bishop’s ruling that a 2014 New England Annual Conference resolution urging a change in denominational policy toward same-sex marriage and an openness to all couples wanting to marry “is thoroughly aspirational in nature” and does not break church mandates.