Rev. Scott Campbell, clergy delegate of the New England Conference, submitted to the Northeastern Jurisdiction a resolution stating in part that “the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference affirms its commitment to the civil and ecclesiastical rights and privileges of all persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons, and declares its passionate opposition to continued distinctions of church law that restrict the rights and privileges of LGBT people in the UMC.”
Specifically, the language of the resolution declares that our “clergy, lay persons and congregations may feel bound by conscience to offer the ministries and sacraments of the church to all persons on an equal basis,” and that even though bound to the Book of Discipline, we are also “bound by Jesus’s commandment to stand with the marginalized and the oppressed in our midst.”
Campbell offered the resolution acknowledging the deep pain around questions of full inclusion in our church. More than 50 delegates and alternates had signed the petition prior to its presentation at the Conference. The 227 Jurisdictional delegates affirmed the resolution with 61% of the vote.
While the majority affirmation was enough to pass the resolution, the vote was still indicative of the continued division of the church on this issue. By the end of the break after the vote, a group identifying themselves as the Northeast Jurisdiction Evangelical Connection (NEJEC) expressed their disappointment in the decision by distributing a short statement outside of the conference proceedings. The statement included a reminder that “the position of the United Methodist Church on human sexuality has not changed.”
The passing of the resolution follows on the heels of a number of Annual Conferences that passed similar statements (see UMNS report, Conferences reject church’s stance on gays, July 18). The statement of the Northeastern Jurisdiction was modeled on a similar document issued by the Pacific Northwest Conference.
For the full text of the statement, click here.
*Alexx Wood is the Communications Director for the New England Conference.