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Liberal UM Social Action Group Keeps Vigil While UM High Court Considers Reversing Own Ruling

Update on Judicial Council Actions – April 28, 2006

By Amy Stapleton, MFSA Field Organizer

And then they waited……

Think of the disciples. Those gathered after having just shared a meal, a last supper, with their friend Jesus. Today feels a bit like Holy Saturday, the day in between. Unlike the early disciples, however, we have heard the good news of resurrection.  So while we wait for the Judicial Council to announce its decisions regarding church membership, we are an Easter people.

This week, members of the Methodist Federation for Social Action, Reconciling Ministry Network, students from Iliff School of Theology and St. Paul School of Theology, lived out our hopes for justice in the United Methodist Church. Over a hundred people gathered in Overland Park, Kansas to be a prayerful witness to the Judicial Council at their spring meeting.   

On the docket was an appeal of Decision #1032 made last fall, which states that clergy have the authority to determine readiness for membership in the United Methodist Church. This particular case involved a pastor’s exclusion of a gay man from membership.

Throughout the two-day meeting we stood in prayerful vigil as the Council met.  As the vigil proceeded, we prayed for each of the Judicial Council members by name.  At the close of the meeting, those of us participating in the vigil were invited into the meeting room to share in a joint communion led by Bishop Fritz Mutti. The Rev. Dr. Myron McCoy, President of St. Paul School of Theology, shared with the group a passage from the Gospel of John:

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As God has sent me, even so I send you.”   

Rev. McCoy pointed out that Jesus gives peace even to those gathered behind closed doors.  We must not stayed behind locked doors, however, for such a church will surely die.   

As is there practice, none of the decisions made by the Judicial Council, including any action taken on the appeal of Decision #1032, will be released until after the weekend.  On Monday, May 1st, we expect the Judicial Council to post information about their decisions on the UMC.org website.    

Methodist Federation for Social Action

212 East Capitol St. NE

Washington DC 20003

Office: 202-546-8806



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