Daily Wrap-up: Delegates hear judicial ruling, approve youth emphasis
May 1, 2004
By Linda Bloom*
(UMNS) — The March acquittal of a lesbian pastor will be re-examined by
the highest court of the United Methodist Church.
majority of delegates to General Conference requested the ruling
following the reading of another Judicial Council ruling on
April 29, the Judicial Council ruled that the practice of homosexuality
is a chargeable offense for clergy. By a 6-3 margin, the court ruled
that the statement “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with
Christian teaching” (Paragraph 304.3 of the 2000 Book of Discipline) is indeed a declaration of the General Conference, the only body that can speak for the 10 million-member denomination.
a reading of that ruling, the Rev. Maxie Dunnam, Kentucky Annual
(regional) Conference, moved that Judicial Council be asked to rule on
the “meaning, application and effect” of the April 29 decision on the
outcome of the trial of the Rev. Karen Dammann. The self-avowed
homosexual clergy member of the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional)
Conference was found innocent of the charge of engaging in practices
“incompatible with Christian teaching.” Dunnam also asked the council to
determine if a United Methodist bishop can legally appoint a
self-avowed, practicing homosexual.
|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose. |
United Methodist General Conference Secretary Carolyn M. Marshall presents a decision of the Judicial Council to the body
Frank Dorsey, Kansas East Conference, opposed the motion, saying that
it was “striking at our heart with a knife to ... destroy our church,”
but Dunnam’s motion was approved by a vote of 551-345.
other business, the delegates took actions that will expand the
church’s ministries with young people and in rural communities.
a 780-109 vote, the General Conference approved the creation of a
Division on Ministries with Young People; 11 delegates abstained from
voting. The budget of $6.6 million, which included $1.8 million off the
general church budget, was approved by a 749-140 vote, with 7
|The Shared Mission Focus on Young People's legislation to create a division was overwhelmingly approved Saturday.|
is an historic moment,” said Jeffrey Greenway, Western Pennsylvania
delegate and chair of the legislative committee on discipleship. “The
young people have shown us a model where the old things pass away and
new things come into being.”
part of the proposal, the United Methodist Youth Organization and the
Forum for Adult Workers in Youth Ministry will disband. The Shared
Mission Focus on Young People will be folded into the new division.
an effort to support rural ministries, the General Conference adopted a
$425,000 budget earmarked for strengthening rural congregations. By
doing so, the assembly gave permission to the denomination’s National
Comprehensive Plan for Town & Country Ministries to develop and
support ministries in rural cultures and contexts for the next four
plan will also assist in developing effective leadership for town and
country ministries. Town & Country Ministries is a program of the
United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer.
News media contact: (412) 325-6080 during General Conference, April 27-May 7. After May 10: (615) 742-5470.