Author: Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, Executive Director, Mainstream UMC
The Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church has allowed portions of the mean-spirited Traditional Plan to take effect. Every single item is anti-gay. It has also allowed the exit provision to take effect which is also based entirely on a church’s view on homosexuality.
Bishop Carter of Florida made this observation before the Judicial Council last fall in Zurich, “The Traditional Plan organizes our church around one issue— human sexuality.” And so it has come to pass. Beginning January 1, 2020 the UMC will begin a wholesale purge of LGBTQ persons and their allies.
- There is a more specific definition of “self-avowed, practicing homosexual” lest any sneaky gays slip through the cracks.
- Bishops cannot consecrate gay bishops. For the record, bishops are still allowed to consecrate adulterous bishops (contrary to Matthew 19) and women (contrary to 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and other passages.) And bishops can consecrate hypocrites, just apparently not gay hypocrites.
- Sets mandatory penalties for, you guessed it, pastors performing gay weddings and no other offense. Minimum sentencing guidelines have worked so well in our federal prison system, the church thought we should try them too. The penalties: one year of unpaid suspension for the first offense and loss of credentials for the second.
- An agreement must be made with the accuser. So, anyone who accuses a pastor of a gay-related crime must be satisfied before a just resolution can be signed. In what court in America does the “accuser” sign off on the punishment of the “offender?” The United Methodist Church courts apparently.
- The church can now appeal trial courts that fail to punish gay-related crimes sufficiently.
Don’t forget, the prohibition against gay weddings only applies to the United States. Any Central Conference outside the United States can allow gay weddings because these prohibitions can be ignored per paragraph 101 of the Book of Discipline. A cultural gift that is not reciprocated to the U.S.
All of us who supported the One Church Plan agreed to live in a church with differences of opinions and practices. Imagine forcing every conservative pastor to certify that they must perform a gay wedding or be brought up on charges and kicked out of the church. No one suggested that. The One Church Plan allowed conservatives to be conservative. But those who support the mean-spirited Traditional Plan want to kick out those who disagree. Their reading of Scripture is pure and ours is wrong. Gay pastors and their allies must be evicted from the church.
The Paragraph 140 of the United Methodist Book of Discipline convicts our hypocrisy:
“Inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the Church, the community, and the world; therefore, inclusiveness denies every semblance of discrimination.” Perhaps the authors of the Traditional Plan will amend this paragraph to continue: “…except for LGBTQ persons and their allies.”
The UMC is officially anti-gay. The dream of 100 trials has begun.
Mainstream UMC is not going anywhere. We will not be bullied out of our church. We will not stand idly by while LGBTQ persons and their allies are singled out and harassed in our churches. We will not allow others to define ministry for 2/3 of the U.S. church. We are digging in against the Traditional Plan for as long as it takes. Thank God our ancestors never gave up on slavery, women in ministry, segregation, or exclusion of divorced clergy. We will not give up either. “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24
I would encourage you to forward this email to every United Methodist on your contact list, and encourage them to sign up for our newsletter at www.MainstreamUMC.com/sign-up. We have had a tremendous response since the harmful General Conference. We need to continue to grow our network for what is next. The Traditional Plan cannot stand… but only if we stand together.
Executive Director, Mainstream UMC www.MainstreamUMC.com
Options for the Future: https://mainstreamumc.com/blog/options-for-the-future/
5 Reasons to Consider a U.S. Church: https://mainstreamumc.com/blog/5-reasons-to-consider-a-u-s-church/
Bishop Carter’s statement: https://mainstreamumc.com/archives/endorsements-ocp/bishop-ken-carter/
UM News Article about the Judicial Council Decision: https://www.umnews.org/en/news/court-oks-part-of-traditional-plan-exit-plan