Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Judicial Council Issues Its Latest Rulings

Today the Judicial Council posted its rulings (1073-1088) for this past week's sessions that considered important issues such as the eligibility of transgender persons for clergy appointment, the use of funds for welcoming campus ministries, domestic partnership benefits for non-clergy conference staff and resolutions regarding inclusivity and membership.

In a historic decision, the Judicial Council reaffirmed Rev. Drew Phoenix's re-appointment in the Baltimore Washington Annual Conference. Reaffirming Bishop Jon Schol's ruling that a gender change poses no barrier to re-appointment to elders in good standing, the Judicial Council clearly stated that elders in good standing cannot be terminated without administrative or judicial action.

In regard to the availability of funds for welcoming campus ministries (1081 and 1084), the Judicial Council left that determination up to the conference Council on Finance and Administration (CF&A). In the case from the Pacific Northwest, the Judicial Council ruled that the conference CF&A had thoroughly investigated the matter and found no violation of the Book of Discipline. However, in the case from the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, the Judicial Council charged the conference CF&A with investigating the matter and issuing its report to the Council within 60 days. Funding for campus ministries and the North Carolina Council of Churches is still at peril, depending on the investigation and report of the annual conference's CF&A.

The Judicial Council also ruled (1075) that domestic partnership benefits for non-clergy annual conference staff did not violate the prohibitions regarding homosexuality in the Book of Discipline since the funds for those benefits were supplied by the participants themselves and not by the annual conference.

The Council did not rule on the resolutions on inclusivity and membership brought by the Northern Illinois Annual Conference (1080) because they lacked jurisdiction. The Council stated, they could not rule since "
the requests for declaratory decision were not separately debated and voted upon, but rather, were handled en masse as part of a consent agenda."


Rev. Mariah said...

Hope remains!

Anonymous said...

The failure of the Bishop and then the Judicial Council were not unexpected. General Conference will likely examine this issue and enact legislation that will reflect the will of the majority of United Methodist.