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Update from Rev. Melanie on recent decisions of the Judicial Council

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Update on the latest developments in the UMC

-Dr. Melanie Rosa

Our highest denominational court, the Judicial Council met last week to determine the constitutionality of the Traditional Plan passed by General Conference in February. The court was asked to rule the entire plan unconstitutional, which did not happen. Instead, they upheld sections of the Traditional Plan which include prohibitions against consecrating LGBTQ bishops or ordaining gay clergy, as well petitions setting timelines and requirements on just resolutions. The court also upheld mandatory minimum penalties for clergy officiating at the weddings of gay and lesbian couples. These provisions would take effect January 1, 2020.

We are working diligently as an Annual Conference and Western Jurisdiction to discern next steps because we will not live under these punitive and intolerable restrictions. Our Conference has hired strategic consultant Roxane White to help us with next steps (Rox was the former Chief of Staff for Governor John Hickenlooper and is an active United Methodist).

 

I continue to serve on the team of Mountain Sky Conference leaders working to create strategies for our shared future.  Currently there are seven task force groups, looking at various options, and I serve on the Core Team.

 

We are working specifically to propose legislation for our Annual Conference gathering in Billings, MT in June.   This work remains confidential, but one objective is to propose legislation that will allow clergy and churches within our Conference to operate under the “One Church Plan” which was defeated at General Conference.   This plan would permit individual congregations and regional conferences to decide whether to ordain and marry LGBTQ people.   I am also in contact with like-minded leaders in the Western Jurisdiction in Washington and Oregon.  We are considering what a future might look like for a separate independent denomination in the Western US.  Additionally, in May, several members of our Conference will gather with 500 others at the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City to discuss next steps.  For now, there is much that is uncertain and much that we do not know.  We plan to act as an Annual Conference in defiance of the Traditionalist Plan, even if it means forming a new denomination and rising from these ashes.  Nevertheless, First Church will remain unapologetically inclusive and welcoming, that is not going to change. 

 

In the meantime, let us worship God together, learn, listen, love and serve boldly as the risen Christ calls us to do.



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