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In an overwhelming, 8-1 decision issued this morning, the United Methodist Church’s “supreme court,” the Judicial Council ruled that “[p]etitions to the special session of the General Conference 2019 may be filed by any organization, clergy member and lay member of the United Methodist Church as long as the business proposed to be transacted in such petition” is within the boundaries of the restricted focus of the 2019 General Conference.
This ruling represents a defeat for liberal bishops who had sought to severely limit, or even altogether prevent, anyone from outside the Council of Bishops from submitting proposals that, in response to our denomination’s tensions over sexual morality and accountability, would represent an alternative “way forward” to the extreme liberalization plan favored by a majority faction within the Council of Bishops.
Some context is worth noting.
Earlier this month, the global UMC Council of Bishops concluded its meeting by deciding that their report to the special 2019 General Conference would “recommend” a plan that would liberalize our church standards on marriage and homosexual practice to better conform to current Western secular culture, but that this report would also “include” two alternative approaches, a “Traditionalist Plan” and a “Connectional Conference Plan.” Our bishops have left many questions unanswered, such as what exactly would be in what they include about the “Traditionalist Plan.”
Days - Bishop - Meant - Bishops - Meaning
Within days, our bishop were publicly disagreeing about what exactly this meant. Liberal American bishops energetically spun this as meaning that the Liberalization Plan would be the only plan submitted to a vote for delegates, while some more orthodox bishops indicated that it meant that all three plans would be potential options on the table.
In a May 12 webinar, Bishop Scott Jones of Texas shared that an initial vote showed that a simple majority of active bishops favored the Liberalization Plan, but that...
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