Judicial Council Rulings (4/27/14)

Regarding the candidacy of Mary Ann Barclay:[Decision No. 1553] The Bishop’s decision is affirmed. When a district committee on ordained ministry recommends a candidate for election to provisional membership, the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry shall include a personal interview with the candidate as part of its full examination of the candidate in order to determine his/her fitness for election to provisional membership. Because this disciplinary point was ignored by the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, the candidate remains a certified candidate for ordained ministry.

Mary Ann’s interview with the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry is Scheduled for May 13.  The SWTX Reconciling Ministries Team has established an Online Prayer Vigil for Mary Ann.  Learn more and registerhere.

Same-sex spouse benefits decision

[Decision No. 1554] The General Council on Finance and Administration has the authority to determine whether or not the use of general agency funds violates the prohibition against using church funds “to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.” (¶ 806.9) By its action on October 21, 2013, in fulfillment of its mandate found in ¶ 807.12, the General Council on Finance and Administration determined that the use of general agency funds to subsidize the premium costs for employees and their same-gendered spouses enrolled in the General Agencies Welfare Benefits Program does not violate ¶ 806.9 of the 2012 Discipline.

Marriage Equality decision

[Decision No. 1552] The Bishop’s decision of law is modified.  An annual conference may express an aspiration or a prophetic appeal for a change in Church Law.  But an annual conference may not negate, ignore, or violate the provisions of the Discipline.  In its first “Resolved” section, the “Marriage Equality Resolution” by the Desert Southwest Annual Conference expresses an aspiration.  In its second “Resolved” section, the action ignores Church law and encourages a violation of Church law.  In its third “Resolved” section, the Resolution declares that the annual conference and its local churches will offer some limited forms of support for those who violate Church Law.  The decision of law by the Bishop neglects to recognize the factors where the Resolution may ignore Church Law, negate Church Law, or affirm a violation of Church Law.

The Bishop’s decision of law is modified to acknowledge these deficiencies.  The first “Resolved” portion of the “Marriage Equality Resolution” is within Church Law.  The second “Resolved” section is null and void and of no effect.  The third “Resolved” section is within Church Law to the extent that its definition of supporting someone “spiritually, emotionally and prayerfully” is understood not to ignore, negate, or violate Church Law.

For full text of these decisions, click here.

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