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UM Bishop Refuses To Deal With Practicing Homosexual Pastor

From Newscope, July 19, 2002

Bishop Declines Request to Issue Ruling on Seattle Clergyman

Connie Gent, a lay member of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, and other conference members asked Bishop Elias Galvan (Seattle) whether a self-acknowledged gay pastor violated a covenant trust when he refused to answer questions about his sexual behavior. The refusal by Mark E. Williams left him as an ordained elder and pastor of Woodland Hills UMC in Seattle. The request for a ruling followed Williams' disclosure to the 2001 conference session that he was a gay man and his subsequent refusal to discuss his sexual practices at a church hearing.

Noting a Judicial Council decision (No. 799) that "the bishop has no authority to make substantive ruling on judicial or other administrative matters" and that "questions of law though presented properly, which do not relate to business, consideration, or discussion of the conference session, are improper and should be so ruled," Bishop Galvan concluded "that the question of law raised by Ms. Gent is improper and/or moot and hypothetical."


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