An Invitation from the New England Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church

Here is the full text of the motion I made, as amended and adopted by the 2014 session of the New England Annual Conference:

An Invitation

The New England Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church strives to be an inclusive conference that celebrates, develops, and affirms God-given gifts for lay and ordained ministry. We commend our District Committees on Ordained Ministry and Board of Ordained Ministry in their work of discerning wisely, fairly, and prayerfully the readiness and effectiveness of those seeking to be accepted as candidates, commissioned as provisional members, and ordained as deacon or elder.

Whereas, we oppose all forms of personal bias and discrimination, including institutionalized discrimination written into our Book of Discipline, as criteria in evaluating potential clergy members, even as we confess our complicity in systems of exclusion;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the New England Annual Conference affirms the following statement:

We believe God calls all persons to lay, and sometimes LLP, Associate Member and ordained ministry. We grieve instances of systemic discrimination, prejudice, and unjust practices that cloud the discernment of this call within The United Methodist Church. The New England Annual Conference extends our invitation to people who wish to explore if their call to ministry might be affirmed and/or lived out in the New England Annual Conference.

While we do not promise to accept such persons into candidacy or membership, we do promise to discern in the Spirit with justice, fairness, and consistent standards to the best of our ability, and we entrust our District Committees on Ordained Ministry and Board of Ordained Ministry to act accordingly.

Be it further resolved, that the New England Annual Conference encourages its churches, Board of Ordained Ministry, and/or District Committees on Ordained Ministry, upon request from a candidate/potential member, or an individual inquiring on their behalf, to extend a written invitation to individual ordination candidates or potential members, inviting them to apply for membership in the New England Annual Conference, in accordance with Disciplinary and Annual Conference requirements.

In the 18+ hours since this motion was adopted, I have already been moved and amazed by the statements of relief, thanksgiving, and joy from those who have been marginalized and harmed by The United Methodist Church. I’m thankful to have been part of this action of the Conference, and hope and pray that this might be the beginning of a new chapter for New England, for those living at the margins, and for The United Methodist Church. Justice and joy, friends!¬† – Becca

 

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11 Responses

  1. As a lifelong United Methodist and proud mother of an outstanding gay man I am so proud, encouraged, and overjoyed to see you & others taking a stand on this issue. We are ALL God’s children & none should be judged by the elderly white males who tend to make the rules in these causes. Thanks for stepping up!

  2. Congratulations to you and to the NE Conference! This is historic. I’m sure other allies around the country will be considering similar resolutions next year.

  3. Ending all forms of discrimination will take courage. My thanks to the New England Conference for showing the rest of the church the way forward.

  4. I invite you and all United Methodists
    to follow the rules of the United Methodist Church until, and if, they are changed. Gene Thompson, retired SW Tx conference

    • Gene, I believe we are trying to uphold both the spirit and the purpose of the United Methodist polity and discipline, even where those seem to be in conflict. However, I do not believe that the church of Jesus Christ should be bound by human rules that call for discrimination and exclusion. That’s not being conformed to the likeness of Christ as I understand it.

      Blessings in our differences,
      Becca

  5. Becca – Thank you for sharing your motion and some of the response. Do you know if there are other conferences who have made similar formal action?

    • Pastoral transition ate my blogging time! Sorry my response is so late.

      I do know that there is a California Conference– I think it’s actually Cal-Nev– that has said it will not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation for the purposes of ordination.

      Blessings, and I hope you are well!
      Becca

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