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Pagan Bishop Resolves Complaints Against UM Clergy Women For Performing Homosexual Marriages By Blessing Her New Position In Charge Of Ministerial Students!!!???

United Methodist Church resolves complaint against Pacific School of
Religion dean who performed same-sex wedding

Contact: Dawn Cunningham, 510/849-8239

BERKELEY, CA - The United Methodist Church has resolved the complaint filed against the Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, now assistant dean at Pacific School of Religion (PSR), for performing a same-sex wedding in San Francisco in February 2004.

Beverly Shamana, bishop of The United Methodist Church's California Nevada Annual Conference, told Oliveto and PSR this week that "the complaint has been resolved in a manner consistent with the 2000 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. The goal of the Book of Discipline is reconciliation and resolution, and this goal has been achieved."

Oliveto responded, "I am very grateful that The United Methodist Church has a process that is not punitive in nature but rather seeks accountability and reconciliation. It was honest, challenging, and respectful, carried out in a prayerful manner that was mindful of the church, The Book of Discipline and the dignity of all persons involved."

In February 2004, when the city of San Francisco announced that it would permit the marriages of same-sex couples, Oliveto was pastor at Bethany United Methodist Church. "We at Bethany were uniquely positioned at the epicenter of this historic moment, as 14 couples within our congregation were married," says Oliveto. "We felt we had a hopeful and joyous testimony to offer our United Methodist sisters and brothers."

Oliveto performed the wedding of Bill Hinson and Dan Johnson at Bethany. A complaint was subsequently lodged against her claiming that her action violated the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church. To resolve the complaint, Oliveto and Bishop Shamana entered a supervisory process that included a review of Oliveto's actions and ministry. According to the Book of Discipline, this process is "pastoral and administrative and [is] directed toward a just resolution among all parties."

Oliveto, who holds a Master of Divinity from PSR and a Ph.D. in religion and society from Drew University and who has served for the past decade as a field education mentor to PSR divinity students, accepted the position of assistant dean and director of contextual education at PSR in June 2004.

William McKinney, president of PSR, says, "We are delighted that Karen has returned to PSR and look forward to her role in preparing the next generation of courageous leaders for The United Methodist Church and its partner denominations. Karen's actions throughout the year have embodied PSR's core values, including compassion and justice for people of all genders, sexual orientations and races, and mutual respect in our partnerships with faith communities. She has practiced the kind of leadership we aim to develop in our students."

PSR supports the work of faith communities and religious leaders to attain full marriage equality for lesbian and gay people. Among PSR's programs is the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLGS) in Religion and Ministry, which works to advance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people and to transform faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion and sexuality through education, research, community building and advocacy.

Pacific School of Religion is an open and affirming seminary of the United Church of Christ, with close historic ties to The United Methodist Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). PSR is a member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

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