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Disobedient Bishop "Not Guilty" For Allowing Same Sex Ceremonies, Charges Dismissed

[UPDATE August 30, 2000]

From: Don Fleharty don_fleharty@hotmail.com
To: jwarrene@surfsouth.com
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2000 12:02 AM
Subject: Re: Jude News - Flashes - August 28, 2000


You may be interested to know that I received the exact same letter (verbatim, word-for-word) from Bishop Dew, dated the same date as received by Jacque Vance of Orangevale. Bishop Dew has not, however responded to the other TWO complaints that I filed against Talbert. I imagine it's just a matter of time before he dismisses them also!

Don Fleharty, Sacramento

August 28, 2000

From: MBGoodyear@cs.com
To: jwarrene@ucmpage.org
Sent: Monday, August 28, 2000 1:06 PM
Subject: Complaint vs. Talbert Dismissed

Hi Everyone - I just got back from Peru last Saturday and today, found this letter on my desk. We recieved it on August 8th, after I had gone to Peru.  Sorry that I could not get it to you sooner.  They do protect one another in the club don't they? It is a mess of twisting  and turning to read into the Discipline whatever they want. What is the next step?

Blessings, Mike

Phone (602) 266-6956, Ext. 209
Fax (602) 266-5343


August 3, 2000

Vance First United Methodist Church
9041 Central Avenue Orangevale, CA

Dear Ms. Vance:

You filed a complaint against Bishop Melvin G. Talbert charging him with Disobedience to the Order and Discipline of the United Methodist Church. I received the complaint at General Conference. I notified you on June 14, 2000 that I had received the complaint. I notified the chairperson of the Episcopacy Committee of the Western Jurisdiction. Two persons were selected from the committee by the chairperson to consult with me in reviewing your complaint. The following is what I found and what I concluded: Under the paragraph on Complaint Procedures (358), the section on a) Supervision provides that district superintendents may initiate complaints about the performance of a clergy person(s). In the matter concerning the events of January 16, 1999, where pastors allegedly participated in some manner in a "same sex covenanting service" the Cabinet of the California-Nevada Conference made a decision to gather information and file complaints against the clergy for any involvement in that event. Cabinet members determined which clergy had participated and attempted to find a just resolution. Resolution could not be achieved so the Cabinet proceeded to file complaints. In the meantime, other complaints did arrive. Since the Cabinet had begun the process, it was the bishop's judgement that all additional complaints would be treated as corroborating materials. The district superintendents and the bishop informed all such persons of that process. After the filing of the complaints, Counsel for the Church received the complaints filed by members of the cabinet, plus all other complaints as corroborating materials. The Counsel for the Church followed due process and referred the complaints to the Committee on Investigation of the annual conference. The process followed by a conference Committee on Investigation is outlined in paragraph 2626, 2626.3.a., 2626.3.b., 2626.3.c., 2626.3.d., and 2626.3.e.

August 3, 2000 Page 2

Ms.Jacque Vance The Committee on Investigation is the body created by the annual conference to determine whether there is sufficient substance to a charge to warrant a church trial. The Committee on Investigation works independently of the bishop, the cabinet and the Board of Ordained Ministry. The Committee's process for determining its decision is informal and confidential. AR procedural decisions are made by the chairperson. The Conunittee on Investigation began a process which concluded on February 8, 2000 and submitted its report to Bishops Talbert. The report of the Committee stated its decision: "The Comniittee on Investigation for Clergy Members does not certify the Judicial Complaint dated May 10, 1999, relating to the Service of Celebration of the Holy Union of Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton held on January 16, 1999 Sacramento, California against (a list of names was attached) as a charge proper for trial."

CONCLUSION: After reading the complaint and consulting with the Committee on Episcopacy, reviewing the events in California-Nevada Annual Conference and the response by Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, I find no substance to the complaint against him and I find no fault with Bishop Talbert's response to the events which culminated in the decision by the Comniittee on Investigation on February 8, 2000. Therefore, all complaints received concerning this matter are dismissed. While there may be disagreement about the prudence of Bishop Talbert's remarks following the decision of the Committee on Investigation, he was exercising his freedom of expression as he fulfilled his understanding as bishop giving leadership in faithful exercise of paragraphs 414/1 and 414.3 of The Book of Discipline.

Respectfully submitted:


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