May 30, 2014

Retired UM Bishop Presides Over Same-Sex Marriage Communion Service

Yet another United Methodist pastor has presided over a same-sex marriage as part of the mass disobedience movement known as “biblical obedience”. The purpose of the campaign is to intentionally flout the United Methodist Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage and activity in an attempt to force the UMC to change the Book of Discipline. What sets this wedding apart from the growing number of violations was a post-wedding celebration, during which Retired Bishop Roy I. Sano held a service of communion.

Sano was one of the retired bishops who stood alongside Retired Bishop Melvin Talbert when Talbert first called for a “biblical obedience” movement. He came out vocally as a proponent of the campaign earlier this month, in an op-ed post on the Pacific Northwest Conference’s website. “With biblical obedience we join in the sweep of this mission of God.” Sano wrote, “…I support those who are celebrating same gender unions based on the biblical foundations in the ministry of Jesus Christ for the mission of the triune God.”

Following the May 17th wedding of Nikki Salde and Kira Azzam, LGBT activists held a “Circle of Love,” a rally in support of all United Methodist pastors who perform gay weddings. The actual wedding took place in Wesley United Methodist Church, a San Jose church that has traditionally catered to the local Japanese population. The wedding ceremony was presided over by Rev. Michael Yoshii, head pastor of Buena Vista United Methodist Church in nearby Alameda, California. According to an email from Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), it was then that Sano presided over a service of communion.

Also present at the ceremony was MFSA executive director Chett Pritchett, who offered a prayer. Frank Schaefer, a former pastor who was defrocked for performing a same-sex marriage, offered a reflection. Although the press release promised “[h]undreds of supporters,” video of the event shows about a few dozen. Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) put the number of supporters at over 50.

Presiding over a gay wedding and hosting one in a United Methodist church building are both clear violation of church law, but Sano’s actions are more questionable. The Book of Discipline forbids clergy from “conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions.” What exactly constitutes a “ceremony” or a “celebration” of a homosexual union isn’t clearly stated. The Circle of Love was unquestionably a celebration of the marriage that had just taken place, and a communion service is almost certainly a “ceremony.” But whether or not the service was a celebration is debatable.

In many ways, Sano’s actions are reminiscent of Melvin Talbert’s at the RMN annual convocation last year. Talbert gave a blessing to all the legally married same-sex couples present, saying, “I announce that they are married, in the name of the Creator, Jesus Christ the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit.” There was a debate over whether or not Talbert’s blessing was in violation of the Book of Discipline, but many (myself included) saw it as an attempt to come as close as possible to breaking church law without actually doing so. Obviously, that debate became moot when Talbert performed a same-sex marriage a few months later and had complaints filed against him. Hopefully, Sano has more sense than to follow Talbert on that count.

Video of the wedding and photos of the “Circle of Love” rally are available on Reconciling Ministries Network’s Facebook page.


39 Responses to Retired UM Bishop Presides Over Same-Sex Marriage Communion Service

  1. bostic says:

    Another sad day in the demise of our once strong denomination. Bishops above our doctrine, and most importantly, our God.

  2. AugustineThomas says:

    Silly heretics.

  3. MarcoPolo says:

    I think it is evident that in a (short) time, the Orthodox Christian position on it’s Book of Discipline will find itself looking much like the Fundamentalist Muslims who hold out against nature regarding issues of sexuality and equality.

    Therefore, they will be forced to adjust to being a minority. Schism, dead ahead!

    • Dusty Herring says:

      How is it “evident”? Every other denomination that has accepted homosexual Clergy and homosexual marriage has suffered huge loses in membership. Meanwhile, local Churches that take a stand to remain faithful to the Word of God have remained level in growth or have grown larger. What is “evident” to me is that God removes His grace from Churches that indulge in the lusts of their sinful natures. Yes, schism is dead ahead but you are sadly mistaken about who will end up being a minority when local Churches have to decide, by membership vote, which denomination they will join.

      • MarcoPolo says:

        Schism is as natural as mytosis, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that organizations like churches will also fluctuate in the number of parishioners.

        • Ramon Estevez says:

          Schism is the least of their worries. These pseudo-Christian churches and their pandering to the various goofball sexual minorities have been in decline for 50 years. Why go to church to hear some adulterous pastor pontificate about “marriage equality,” what kind of religion is that? I think parishioners sense that people who condone sexual immorality have their own skeletons in the closet. Faithful monogamous couples have better things to do with their time than beat the drum for homosexuals, nudists, and other fringe elements out there. Live and let live, but don’t stick the label “Christian” on a gaggle of degenerates and misfits.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            ALL people should bang the drum for EQUALITY.
            There were times when a left-handed teacher wouldn’t be allowed near children because the religious powers-that- be, thought it was satanic!
            What kind of religion would act like that?

            Ramon, I’d be curious to know how your Gay friends feel about your opinion?

          • Fran Brunson says:

            I’ve been a Christian most of my left, I’ve never heard any Christian say such things about lefthanded teachers, so your post makes no sense at all. Btw, I am lefthanded myself, but I have always been treated well by Christians.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Christians should always treat anyone well. My point regarding “The devil’s hand” is well known if you’ve studied history. Most left-handers were forced to convert to using their right hand, even as late as the 1960’s.
            Certainly, the fear was myth based, but then so is the fear of homosexuals by the religious heterosexuals.
            I, also, am left-handed.

          • Neil Bragg says:

            That left-hand business is a crock.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            I was illustrating a point to help those who forget history regarding issues as benign as left-handers being discriminated against, just as those that are lesbian or gay being discriminated against today.
            It seems like the church leads the way on issues that ruffle the status-quo.

          • Jonathan Kuperberg says:

            People who BEHAVE in a sinful manner are being treated accordingly, and encouraged to repent. That is not a bad form of “discrimination”.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            BEING Gay, is not a behavior, it is a human trait. No doubt, different from you, but no less real.

          • Jonathan Kuperberg says:

            Having gay sex is the problem. That IS a behavior. People like Far-Leftist, dishonest sex pervert Amy DeLong (who believes in “God’s EXPANSIVE love” rather than God’s EXCLUSIVE love, and refuses to answer questions about her immoral “intimate and personal” behavior) need to give up their depraved and disgusting behavior or cease claiming to be faithful Christians.

            I am not a United Methodist. If I was, then I would forget about a future “schism”, simply demand DeLong, Ogletree and co be kicked out and threaten to move to the Free Methodist/Bible Methodist (ultra conservative, uncompromised) church if they were not. Period.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Jonathan…Amy DeLong has no need to discuss or share any aspect of her personal (sex) life with anyone but her partner/spouse.
            Nobody’s demanding you to reveal any such information, so why should she?

            I’m quite certain, she is being honest.
            Your position on the subject is skewed to what you’ve been taught.
            Don’t expect everyone to buy into what you ‘see’ as normal.
            And I too, believe God’s love to be universally inclusive. Not hampered by the patriarchal restrictions that your belief system dictates.
            Sex doesn’t define the person… character does!

          • Jonathan Kuperberg says:

            Don’t expect me to buy into the outrageous view YOU have of what is morally appropriate. I believe your convictions are lies, New Age filth based on seeds sown by Satan.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Jonathan, You are correct about being truthful…whether under oath or not, but having a loving relationship is not all about sex! And I don’t think the Church Court is asking if she has had sex.

            I agree that clergy, who cannot keep the tenets of their faith, should belong to another faith. One that regards LOVE and respect as it’s core.

      • MarcoPolo says:

        This is not a contest to gain members to any one church. It is a stand off between the orthodox Christians and those other Christian denominations who believe that Christ would have loved and accepted ALL persons, whether Gay or straight!
        It’s what’s in their hearts, not what’s in their pants!
        Where then are all those migrating Methodists going?

        • Neil Bragg says:

          We all have different opinions about what churches exist for. Having read the New Testament through, often, and being familiar with the history of Christianity, I for one do not believe that Jesus Christ came to earth and suffered on the cross in order to establish an organization that exists to make homosexuals feel good about themselves. Obviously the UMethodists and other denominations have a lot of people in them who do believe that is why churches exist, and maybe they really do believe Christianity is all about making people feel good about their sexual practices. I just don’t see that”gospel of sex” in the New Testament, where the apostles preached a message of living a life different from the sexed-up culture of the Roman empire. If the “gospel of sex” crowd decides to leave the UM, good riddance, and hope the door doesn’t hit them on the way out.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Neil,
            You’ve over simplified a very complicated human condition…No surprise there!
            Churches are simply the collective gathering of peoples who believe a certain faith.
            Nobody is asking to make a distinction between heterosexual, or homosexual.
            The tendency of many traditionalists, is to see themselves as superior, simply by their sexual orientation.
            This is not a sexual issue, but a societal issue.
            Get over it, the world is full of more diversity than just male and female.
            Please consider that you may be wrong.

        • Jonathan Kuperberg says:

          “Love” is not the issue separating orthodox/traditional and progressive churches. Conservative Christians (with the exception of hyper-Calvinists, a tiny faction which is now most famously represented by Westboro Baptist Church but has existed since the 17th century) accept God’s love for all men just as liberals do- the real issue is sexual morality.

      • Ramon Estevez says:

        I agree with Dusty!
        It’s just plain FACT that churches that act as stooges for the gay activists do not gain members, they LOSE. Count on those churches ceasing to exist in 20 years, and good riddance too! The numbers do not lie.

    • Jonathan Kuperberg says:

      The MAJORITY Islamic position on homosexuality and “equality” is even more strongly opposed than conservative Christians.

      And it is irrelevant to me as a Christian what Muslims think. If I am in a minority of 0.0001% so be it. Opinion polls and mainstream cultural shifts do not impact my beliefs.

  4. Marty says:

    Having spent some years working for the religious left, I’m convinced most of them are deists or agnostics or maybe outright atheists, not Christians, and I really don’t think any of them have a firm belief in an afterlife. I learned long ago that some of them, when they hit 50 or 60, start to get a little panicky, fearing the Grim Reaper (and nothing afterward), so they throw in their lot with whatever the young people are pushing at the moment. It’s both sad and funny to look at this old guy’s mug shot – in a rational world, he would be an elder statesman in his church, standing up for truth against the trendiness of the young. Instead, he’s letting the young guide him in to apostasy. Sad.

    • Dusty Herring says:

      I totally agree with you, Marty. I have come to this same conclusion. What’s worse is I think the theologically progressive/liberal Church will soon demand that we ordain self-avowed Atheists in the name of inclusion and diversity. We already have “Bishops” who deny: the infallible nature of Scripture, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the real existence of the Devil and Hell.

      • MarcoPolo says:

        Dusty, your denomination should never be expected to ordain anyone who cannot pass muster with your denominational tenets, so I wouldn’t worry about having to accept those that can’t comply.
        That being said, I realize the current ‘problem’ dealing with Bishops that don’t adhere to the Book of Discipline creates a problem. I, personally think those who wish to deviate from the rules, should find another denomination.
        I know that I’ve discovered the UMC to be less than I expected, when it comes to accepting people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, or Transgendered. But that’s just me!

    • davidt57 says:

      Agreed. I attended a very liberal seminary (Iliff) back in the early 80s. I found liberal theological thought very interesting, and dug into it with gusto. But then I began to consider the logical conclusions if one follows it out (no supernatural, no divine intervention, no dependability of the Scriptures, God is mostly a metaphor for whatever we want to say is “good,” etc.), then investigated to find the foundational convictions for liberal theology (all of the above), and realized it was circular reasoning! No, thanks, libs. No metaphor for me. I’ll stick with the God of the Bible.

    • MarcoPolo says:

      Why need there be anything after this life?
      If one is living this life properly (serving others, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, etc…) why then must we expect something to follow this realm?
      I’m sincerely curious. I think it is almost greedy to expect there to be a “place” beyond this one.

      • Ramon Estevez says:

        No one is forcing you to believe Christianity. Jesus clearly believed in an afterlife. You can find faux Christian churches that share your lack of beliefs, also the Unitarians don’t believe in much of anything except homosexuality and recycling.

      • Jonathan Kuperberg says:

        this world is flawed and unjust. embracing God’s provision for eternal life with Him in a realm much greater than this earth is not “greed”. Jesus rose from the dead and ascended and so will the people in His Body.

        • MarcoPolo says:

          I agree, Jonathan, this world is flawed and unjust. But how does that, suggest that there be another realm.
          It does sound like a Rapture Club for members only. And that’s just speculation and hope.

          • Jonathan Kuperberg says:

            In conjunction with God’s nature as revealed to us in the Scriptures, it would indicate God has a better place prepared for those faithful to Him- where eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard what is awaiting us…unless of course you deny the Gospel. And yes, as for “members only”- the Body of Christ is exclusive in a sense- nothing wrong with that.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            There are/were many religions over time that have claimed an existence after this life. I have no expectations of that place, as it’s not necessary. Whether the Gospels infer it or not, it shouldn’t be necessary if one is living THIS life accordingly.

        • Karmasue says:

          Why are you here then? It seems that if you believe that getting to that eternal life is the only thing that matters, then why even have this life here on earth. Tell me why you believe this world even exists if it is unnecessary.

  5. apriluser says:

    And to think our apportionment dollars pays for his pension.

  6. John S. says:

    Nice to know the money from the offering plate is put to such good use.

  7. k9wkk says:

    I only have one thing to say. I have been with the United Methodist Church for 54 years. When the church starts homosexual marriages and pastors then I will be gone.

  8. Vickilynn Pabalan says:

    Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

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