Investigation Committee Member Resigns And Active Lesbian UM Pastor To Go To Trial After Three Years
From: News Digest [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
News for Pacific Northwest United Methodists in Ministry Together
Contact Person: Elaine Stanovsky
206-728-7462 or 425-750-7257
The Rev. Karen Dammann will face a church trial in The United Methodist Church for disclosing that she is "living in a partnered, covenanted homosexual relationship with another woman." United Methodist Church law prohibits "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" from serving as clergy.
The decision to call for a trial came yesterday by a vote of 5-2 after a second hearing by the Committee on Investigation of the Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church. After a first hearing in July 2002, the Committee on Investigation dismissed the complaint by a vote of 3 to 3 with one abstention. Five votes are required to forward a complaint for trial.
The dismissal was appealed to the Judicial Council, the highest court of the church, which found that "egregious errors of church law" had occurred in the case. The Council sent the complaint back to the northwest committee with instructions that members who are unwilling to uphold the Discipline "must step aside in this matter."
After being informed of the Judicial Council decision, one member of the Committee stepped aside and was replaced by an alternate member. The newly constituted committee considered the case in December in a closed hearing.
Bishop Galvan will designate another Bishop to convene and preside at a trial court sometime during 2004. Jurors will be selected from a pool of clergy persons named by the district superintendents of the conference.
The Rev. Dammann continues to serve under appointment as pastor of Ellensburg United Methodist Church in central Washington State.
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