A STATEMENT FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ON BEHALF OF THE COUNCIL OF BISHOPS, UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Re: Response to the verdict in the Rev. Karen Dammann Trial
The verdict in the trial of Rev. Karen Dammann in the Seattle Episcopal area has raised questions across the United Methodist Church. The Council of Bishops reminds the church this one case does not alter the Book of Discipline regarding homosexuality or the qualifications for ministry. The Discipline's authority is unchanged. Nor does this case directly affect other Annual Conferences as they may adjudicate such cases.
We affirm the leadership of Bishop Elias Galvan of the Seattle Area for ensuring due process as prescribed by The Book of Discipline. We affirm our vow as bishops to uphold the Discipline of The United Methodist Church.
As your bishops, we invite the church to join us in respectful, prayerful dialogue and Christian conferencing to discern the Holy Spirit’s leading. Together let us find, affirm, and live a common understanding of our doctrines and discipline. We are convinced that the General Conference must be a place of prayerful consideration of and agreement over our commonly held convictions and norms for Christian teaching and living.
The Dammann case does reveal continuing differences in the United Methodist Church concerning the issue of homosexuality. The Council of Bishops is painfully aware of this disagreement. In such moments as this, we remember that our unity in Christ does not depend on unanimity of opinion. Rather, in Jesus Christ we are bound together by love that transcends our differences and calls us to stay at the table with one another.
”And I will show you a still more excellent way… Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (I Corinthians 12:31b, 13:4-8a)
March 25, 2004, United Methodist News Service