From UM News:
The United Methodist Church’s top court has found that while some provisions of the newly adopted Traditional Plan remain unconstitutional, the rest of the plan is valid as church law.
That was the Judicial Council’s ruling on a requested review of the Traditional Plan, which was approved during a special denomination-wide legislative session in February to strengthen enforcement of bans on “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy and same-sex weddings.
In a separate ruling, legislation to provide an exit strategy for local churches wishing to leave the denomination meets three minimum requirements and thus is constitutional “when taken together with the consent of the annual conference” as specifically outlined in the Book of Discipline, the court said.
Both decisions came at the conclusion of the Judicial Council’s April 23-26 meeting.
What was found constitutional? The following is from UMNews. Read the full story here.
- The first part of Petition 90045 — “Just resolutions shall state all identified harms and how they shall be addressed by the church and other parties to the complaint.”
- Petition 90032 adds a footnote to Paragraph 304.3 to more fully define the term, “self-avowed practicing homosexual.”
- Petition 90036 prohibits bishops from consecrating bishops who are self-avowed homosexuals, even those elected by a jurisdictional or central conference. It also prohibits bishops from commissioning or ordaining those determined to be self-avowed homosexuals, even if recommended and approved by the clergy session or board of ordained ministry.
- Petition 90042 sets mandatory penalties for pastors convicted by a trial court of performing same-sex wedding ceremonies or conducting ceremonies to celebrate homosexual unions. Those penalties are a year’s suspension without pay for the first offense and termination of conference membership and church credentials for a second offense.
- Petition 90043 prohibits the recommendation or approval of any person who does not meet the ordination qualifications found in Paragraph 1-3. That section includes the language that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be certified as candidates for ministry, ordained or appointed.
- Petition 90044 sets a timeline for the referral or dismissal of a complaint, and Petition 90046 adds a sentence to four disciplinary paragraphs on securing the agreement to a resolution from the complainant or complainants.
- Petition 90047 allows the church to have a right of appeal from trial court findings “based on egregious errors of church law or administration,” but not from findings of fact.
The council previously found 90066 (a disaffiliation petition) unconstitutional but it has now determined that any General Conference legislation permitting such an exit must meet three minimum requirements:
- Approval of the disaffiliation resolution by a two-thirds majority of the professing members of the local church present and voting at the church conference.
- Establishment of the terms and conditions, including the effective date, of the agreement between the annual conference and the exiting local church by the conference board of trustees in accordance with applicable church law and civil laws.
- Ratification of the disaffiliation agreement by a simple majority of the members of the annual conference present and voting.