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UM High Court To Rule On She-Male Pastors, Fornication Benefits, Sodomite Recruiting

For immediate release Contact: Karen Oliveto, 510-849-8258

Bush Surgeon Nominee in San Francisco October 24-27 As Methodist Council Considers Gay Issues Reconciling Witness (an unofficial caucus of The United Methodist Church) October 2, 2007

Dr. James Holsinger, Jr., President Bush's nominee to be U.S. Surgeon General, will be in San Francisco October 24-27 as the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church, among 19 docket items on its regular semi-annual meeting, considers four issues of interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT).

Dr. Holsinger is president of the Judicial Council. This body interprets the UMC lawbook, the Book of Discipline. Churches and pastors must abide by Judicial Council rulings or risk losing their status in the international church.

Reconciling Witness, a group insisting on full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the United Methodist Church, will host a hospitality suite at the Fisherman's Wharf Hilton hotel, where the Council will deliberate for four days. Reconciling Witness has invited groups which would be most affected by what it would consider adverse decisions to speak publicly to those effects.

Reconciling Witness has identified four issues of "inclusiveness" that it will closely watch:

(1) Are transgender pastors in full standing entitled to a church appointment if they want one?

(2) How much should campus ministries reach out to LGBT students as LBGTs?

(3) Should domestic partners of lay church employees be eligible for church health plans?

(4) Can churches, as they declare that they welcome all families, include LGBT families?

Reconciling participants will have a worship service of remembering their baptism - the promise all do have full inclusion -at Justin Herman Plaza at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, hold a press conference, and march with candlelight along the Embarcadero to the Hilton.

The Judicial Council, among its nine members, is considered to be composed of a slight majority of conservatives on social and ecclesiastical matters. Their mandate, however, is to interpret the Book of Discipline for how it applies in specific cases. A General Conference meets every four years to amend the Discipline. It meets in Fort Worth, Texas, next April.

Holsinger is considered one of the conservatives. He must be approved by the U.S. Senate before he can take office as U.S. Surgeon General. He appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in July.

**Other opportunities for witness and support for an inclusive church during this session of the Judicial Council:

Thursday, 6pm at the Hilton: A worship service led by Transgender Religious Leaders.

Friday, 6pm: Pacific School of Religion seminarians will be leading worship

Saturday, TBD: closing communion

Throughout the duration: prayer vigils

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