A United Methodist Church pastor has resigned from a regional body's Board of Ordained Ministry over their refusal to enforce the denomination's rules against approving openly LGBT clergy candidates.
The New York Annual Conference of the UMC recently reaffirmed its stated opposition to the UMC's policy against ordaining noncelibate homosexuals, despite losing a case before the denomination's highest court, the United Methodist Judicial Council.
Pastor Chuck Ferrara of Patchogue United Methodist Church tendered his resignation from the NYAC BOOM due to the regional body's pro-LGBT stance.
In an emailed letter to the bishop posted online on Monday, Ferrara explained that his decision was influenced by his military and law enforcement background.
"First, I was an Army Captain Special Forces ODA A-team commander. We were a small group of twelve who could be dropped anywhere in the world to ruin your day. It was ingrained in me to obey the chain of command and follow orders to the most minute detail (provided the order was lawful)," wrote Ferrara.
"Second, I am retired as an NYPD lieutenant who spent a career enforcing the laws; I didn't bend them, I enforced them. I was honest, held my head high with integrity and was fair as I carried out my duties."
Ferrara went on to note that by rejecting the Judicial Council's decision, the NYAC was "nothing less than rebellion" and no better than "mutiny."
"When I played football, baseball, and basketball, I put on a uniform with pride and took the field. There were rules I had to abide by. Home plate was 17 inches, not 23. You didn't widen the plate to satisfy a pitcher or hitter who could not abide by the rules," continued Ferrara.
"Our board has just widened the plate without the official approval of General Conference. This, in my opinion, is mutiny. I will have no part of that based on the aforementioned."
Last year, the NYAC BOOM released a statement saying that they would no longer enforce the ordination rules against approving openly LGBT clergy candidates.
"Sexual orientation and gender identity are not and will not be considered in the evaluation of candidates by the Board of Ordained Ministry," read the statement.
"As a whole, the BOOM has observed vital, effective ministry from clergy married to a spouse of the same sex. Quite simply, discriminating against married persons regardless of the gender of their spouse or against those who hope to be married is not the path we believe God is calling us to walk."
Regarding ordination, the UMC's Book of Discipline prohibits homosexuals who are involved in a same-sex relationship from becoming clergy.
"While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world," reads the Discipline.
"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."