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Confessed Lesbian Pastor's Church Trial Acquittal By Pro-homosexuality Annual Conference To Be Visited Again By Pro-homosexuality Jurisdiction


PNW NEWS DIGEST January 16, 2003 - Volume 8 - Number 5
News for Pacific Northwest United Methodists in Ministry Together
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact [January 16, 2003] Elaine Stanovsky 206-728-7462

Appeal Hearing date set in case against Rev. Karen Dammann

The Western Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals will consider an appeal in the case against the Rev. Karen Dammann in a closed hearing January 29-30. A complaint was filed against Rev. Dammann in 2001, referring to her disclosure to Bishop Elias Galvan and clergy colleagues [at Annual Conference and local newspapers] that she is "living in a partnered, covenanted homosexual relationship with another woman." Bishop Galvan referred the complaint to the judicial process of the church. The first step in the judicial process was a closed hearing by the Committee on Investigation of the Pacific Northwest Conference.

Last year the Committee on Investigation of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the church dismissed the charge. The counsel for the church in the matter filed an appeal, claiming that "egregious errors of church law" has been committed by the Committee on Investigation.

The Committee on Appeals is composed of 6 persons, both lay and clergy, from across the 8 annual conferences of the west. They are elected by the western jurisdictional conference every four years. No member of the committee shall participate in a hearing involving a person from their own conference. Only the records and documents of the trial are used in the appeal hearing. No witnesses are heard in person. The Committee on Appeals is charged with answering two questions: a) does the weight of the evidence sustain the charge? b) were there such errors of Church law as to vitiate the verdict and/or the penalty?

Any decision by the Committee on Appeals is final, except that an appeal may be taken to the Judicial Council, the highest judicial body in The United Methodist Church. (See The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, paragraphs 2715-2717).

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