A rift has emerged in the United Methodist Church after delegates in the Western Jurisdictional Conference defied the Church's prohibition of homosexuality on Friday to elect the Rev. Karen Oliveto as its first openly gay bishop.
"I think at this moment I have a glimpse of the realm of God. I want to thank the candidates who I have journeyed with these past few days, for the grace with which we walked with each other. And know I stand before you because of the work and prayers of so many, especially those saints who yearned to live for this day, who blazed a trail where there was none, who are no longer with us, and yet whose shoulders I stand on," Oliveto, 58, said after her election, according to a report from the United Methodist Church.
The Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church encompasses the eight westernmost regional conferences of the United States: the Alaska Conference, the California-Nevada Conference, the California-Pacific Conference, the Desert Southwest Conference, the Oregon-Idaho Conference, the Pacific Northwest Conference, the Rocky Mountain Conference and the Yellowstone Conference. more >>
United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcano of the California-Pacific Conference responded to the Orlando gay nightclub mass murders by a reported pro-ISIS Islamist with the suggestion that her denomination's traditional marriage teaching is to blame:
"As I have prayed for the victims of this latest shooting, for the shooter and his family, for the people of Orlando, and for us, I have been struck by a concern that has penetrated my heart. Is it possible that we United Methodists with such a negative attitude and position against LGBTQI persons contribute to such a crime? When we say that those who are of a homosexual gender identity are living lives that are incompatible with Christian teaching, that they are not to be included in our ordained leadership, and that they are not important enough for us to invest resources of the Church in advocating for their well-being, in essence when we say that our LGBTQI brothers and sisters are not worthy of the fullness of life that Christ offers us all, are we not contributing to the kind of thinking that promotes doing harm to these our brothers and sisters, our children, the sacred children of God?"
United Methodism's definition of marriage as the union of man and woman is unexceptionably the official and historic stance of about 99% of organized Christianity, including Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and nearly every Protestant tradition except a handful of shrinking denominations in northwestern Europe and North America. more >>
Early Sunday, a man named Omar Mateen shot about 100 people in an Orlando gay nightclub with an assault rifle, killing half of them.
Mateen called 911 pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State, or ISIS, and was eventually killed by Orlando police in a firefight.
While Mateen clearly stated his loyalty to ISIS and the terrorist group itself has accepted responsibility for the shooting, other people have found themselves being thrown into the blame game as being in some way responsible for the violent anti-gay act. more >>
A regional body within the United Methodist Church rejected the commissioning of a married lesbian as a deacon, a move that would have likely defied denominational rules.
The Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference's Board of Ordained Ministry took a vote Wednesday and did not approve Tara "T.C." Morrow as a deacon.
"Morrow failed to receive the two-thirds of the vote needed to be approved," reported the UMConnection, noting that the BOOM stated it "did not consider sexual practice for any candidate and did not in the case of Morrow." more >>
Regional bodies of the United Methodist Church do not believe they are violating denominational rules on ordination by no longer questioning clergy candidates on matters of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
As part of the divisive debate over homosexuality within the UMC, some regional bodies, or Annual Conferences, have had their Boards of Ordained Ministry waive the consideration of a clergy candidate's sexual orientation.
Delegates at the United Methodist Church's General Conference elected the first-ever African president of their highest ecclesiastical court.
N. Oswald Tweh Sr., a native of Liberia who already sat as a member of the United Methodist Judicial Council, was elected president of the Council last week.
A lay member who was elected to an eight-year term at the 2012 General Conference in Tampa Bay, Florida, Tweh has an extensive legal background, according to the United Methodist News Services. more >>