Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am proud and thankful to be a Methodist. The term, "Methodist" was assigned to our founder, John Wesley, and the members of his "holy club." The term was meant to be critical and condemning because the members of Wesley's small band were "methodical" in the way that they attended to the practice of ministry and soul care.
Today I take great pleasure in knowing that the denomination that I love has a process and a plan designed to hold its members accountable while doing its best to assure a fair process when addressing a variety of issues. Our process seems, at times, long and complex when it comes to rendering a final decision. I am reminded that Jesus, though often pressed and pushed, never rushed to a decision. Jesus was not reactionary; he was responsive.
The Judicial Council released its decision on a request for a declaratory decision from the South-Central Jurisdiction (SCJ) in response to the Western Jurisdiction's (WJ) nomination, election, consecration and assignment of Reverend Karen Oliveto as a Bishop of the United Methodist Church.
In its decision, the Judicial Council ruled that the consecration of a gay bishop violates church law. The Judicial Council went on to say that Bishop Oliveto "remains in good standing, until an administrative or judicial process is completed." [All UM pastors are deemed to be in "good standing" until they are found guilty, through due process, of violating the Book of Discipline.]
The decision of the Judicial Council rightly recognizes that their initial decision is only one step in our judicial process. The ruling by the Judicial Council is not the final step!
So, what does this mean for the people called "Methodist" and what does this mean for the IGRC?