Oliveto flanked by Bishops Stanovsky (left) and Carcaño (right) - Photo credit: Charmaine Robledo, Mountain Sky Episcopal Area / UMNS

June 12, 2017

BREAKING: Western Jurisdiction Bishops Petition Judicial Council to Overturn Lesbian Bishop Ruling

The bishops of the United Methodist Church’s theologically radicalized, numerically tiny Western Jurisdiction recently submitted a formal petition to our denomination’s supreme court, the Judicial Council. These bishops are requesting that the Council reconsider and reverse its recent April decision against the Western Jurisdiction’s attempt to elect openly partnered lesbian activist Dr. Karen Oliveto (who otherwise would not have been remotely qualified for the office) to be a United Methodist bishop.

That highly watched ruling found that someone found to be openly homosexually partnered, as Oliveto publicly admits to being, does not meet the minimum standards for being bishop, due to the UMC’s official affirmation of biblical teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that this is the only appropriate context for sexual relations. In the narrow situation of Oliveto, the Judicial Council’s Decision #1341 basically removed any legal legs she would have had to stand on to indefinitely continue as a United Methodist bishop, pending only the completion of a review process to determine if the way Oliveto publicly describes herself is true. I wrote some analysis here about the much broader implications of this case, for how it applied the plain meaning of the words in the UMC’s governing Book of Discipline to close alleged loopholes a few bishops (particularly in the Western Jurisdiction) have dishonestly used to avoid enforcing our rules against “self-avowed practicing homosexual” clergy.

It is these broader implications for more effectively forbidding “self-avowed practicing homosexual” clergy that the Western Jurisdiction bishops have targeted in their request, dated today. These bishops’ request adamantly protests the legal core of the Judicial Council’s ruling, claiming that it “cannot be allowed to stand.”

The request, dated today, was submitted by Richard A. Marsh and Llewelyn G. Pritchard, Chancellors for the Rocky Mountain and Pacific-Northwest Annual Conferences. It was endorsed by Dr. Oliveto as well as every active bishop in the Western Jurisdiction (Bishops Minerva Carcaño of San Francisco, Grant Hagiya of Los Angeles, Robert Hoshibata of Phoenix, and Elaine Stanovsky of Seattle), and apparently every living retired bishop affiliated with the region (Bishops Warner Brown, Wilbur Choy, Elias Galvan, Calvin McConnell, Roy Sano, Beverly Shamana, Mary Ann Swenson, and Melvin Talbert).

UMAction has been heavily involved in this particular case, from bringing the specific church-law questions at issue to the Judicial Council in the first place to submitting many of the key legal arguments.

While the ruling was really a rather modest, common-sense application of the plain meaning of the UMC Discipline, the fact that all active and retired Western Jurisdiction bishops are going out of their way to try to overturn it speaks volumes at what a major victory this was for restoring biblical Christian accountability in the UMC. The Western Jurisdiction bishops are effectively begging the Judicial Council to roll back the clock and restore to them broad powers several liberal bishops had used and abused for years to protect homosexually active clergy from any accountability.

And of course, making this request could also provide a convenient excuse for the leadership Western Jurisdiction extending the deadline for their months of needlessly stalling on the formal complaints against Dr. Oliveto.

According to Rule IX of the Judicial Council’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, any “interested party” in a Judicial Council case may request a new ruling within 45 days of the original decision. The record shows that such requests for reconsideration, while not uncommon, are routinely denied by the Judicial Council. However, we will not know for sure what will be done with this particular request for reconsideration until the Council’s next meeting in late October 2017.


30 Responses to BREAKING: Western Jurisdiction Bishops Petition Judicial Council to Overturn Lesbian Bishop Ruling

  1. Mike Ward says:

    You are never going to win this. They’ll steel it somehow.

    Fortunately there are good denominations. I’m Church of Christ. Looks us up if the Progressives completely destroy your denomination. Which they will.

  2. andreas says:

    Well, that was NOT a surprise.

  3. William says:

    Unless the 2019 special General Conference excises these radicals from what remains of the North American UMC, there will be no UMC standing anywhere in the not too distant future. They are already independent of the church. Making that official is the ONLY way forward.

  4. David says:

    To my Liberal progressive brothers and sisters: God will NOT be mocked!
    Truth in Love and Grace.

    • Dawn Blundell says:

      Hi David. What makes you think folks are mocking God?

      • William says:

        Dawn,
        Please read Matthew 19:4-6 where Jesus unequivocally defended God’s created order for marriage to see if this bishop’s so called marriage, and all those in the Western Jurisdiction who support it, are not mocking God.

        • JT says:

          The section of scripture where Jesus talks about what is allowed for a Moasaic Divorce and that is your best reference for supporting your faith in this subject?

          • William says:

            JT,
            Yep, I’ll stick with Jesus on this one. Why did he defend God’s created order of marriage in his condemnation of frivolous divorce? Could it be that he is the Son of God and he was stating the Father’s position on the matter in that teaching? Your turn — show me a Scripture(s) that sanctions any sort of marriage outside that of man and woman, or a Scripture(s) that refutes what Jesus described as marriage in Matthew 19 and Mark 10, and you might well have solved this schism in the UMC.

        • Deborah Levinson says:

          The RCC performed the first same-sex marriages. If you are going to be a bigot, at least get the facts straight. No pun intended.

          • lee jensen says:

            Yes, all that truly believe in what the Scripture teaches are called bigots, hate-mongers, etc. etc. etc. But such those that label Christians as such will be the ones that will ultimately be condemned as the sheep will not follow such the goats.

  5. Kevin says:

    Simply a stalling tactic. Now they have an excuse to wait until October before they actually have to do anything and no doubt they will come up with another delay. And so on until the called GC solves the problem.

  6. William says:

    In addition, this looks to be a foundational statement for a NEW denomination separate and distinct from Wesleyan Methodism:

    http://westernjurisdictionumc.org/western-jurisdiction-bishops-offer-pastoral-response-to-umc-related-to-judicial-council-decision-regarding-bishop-karen-olivetos-election/

  7. diaphone64 says:

    Maybe they should take their “case” to the vaunted 9th Circuit who so frequently demonstrate their abject ignorance of law. #ObeyTheBOD #GC2019

  8. diaphone64 says:

    The faithful churches in this jurisdiction need to do what those two Mississippi churches did and just leave.

  9. John says:

    The Churches that don`t believe the Bible is the word of God, should just close the doors and lock then, permanently. God hates homosexuality, he calls it an abomination, and it is punishable by death. Abomination means something disgusting, punishable by death, is the spiritual death in the lake of fire on the Great Judgment day.

    • Deborah Levinson says:

      Ah yes. Those ignorant of Hebrew and Greek parade their ignorance for all to see. Glory be!

    • Rev. Darla says:

      Have any of you heard of the Reconciling Ministry branch of United Methodists?

      • Skipper says:

        I have heard of the Reconciling group, but it is not a ministry. The Serpent does not minister, but rather he deceives. Neither is it a branch of the United Methodist Church, but a private group that promotes sexual perversion.

        “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 27:12

        “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

        Hold on the instruction, do not let it go, guard it well, for it is your life.” Proverbs 4:13

      • William says:

        Reconciling is an oxymoron descriptor for this radical left organization. There is no reconciliation going on with them, just division, defiance, and destruction.

      • Charlotte says:

        Yes I have. I do not agree with their thinking.

  10. Ray Dunsworth says:

    Perhaps biblical Methodists should find a way to file a complaint against the bishops who are clearly seeking to disobey the Book of Discipline.

  11. Jim says:

    The UMC of today and the UMC of decades ago makes me think of the view my now deceased parents had of the Democrat party. They grew up in the depression and through WWII with FDR as their frame of reference for the party. JFK reassured them this was the party for them. By the time Bill Clinton came along, they were beginning to see it wasn’t quite the same. However, out of loyalty, they stayed true to their party. (However, I believe my father voted for Reagan but he wouldn’t let on 🙂

    In similar ways, people hang on the UMC because it is the “denomination” they grew up in. It was their parents and grandparents too. Tradition and loyalty blinding folks to the truth that essentially, our Lord has removed the lampstand.

    What signs are there that the Ole “MC” ain’t what it used to be? Well, the homosexual issue to be sure. But, more telling, when is the last time you heard a salvation message from a UMC pulpit? How about a message on heaven? Or hell? When is the last time your UMC congregation practiced church discipline for unruly congregants? The talk of social justice and good stewardship of the earth, etc. has replaced the full preaching of the Gospel. Thus, the lamp has been removed.

    • Charlotte says:

      Oh Jim, I agree… we have become (speaking of the progressive UMC) a “feel good” church. If it feels ok, do it, regardless of what scripture says or try to twist scripture and make it fit your circumstance.

  12. William says:

    In searching for non-existent lines in an attempt to connect dots, none of these examples can ever erase God’s law for marriage, the intended family foundation of creation for humankind. It cannot be altered without going against God.

    http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/blogs-commentaries/post/commentary-christian-ethics-in-volatile-times

    • Andy Wilson says:

      You can tell Stephens is a Methodist. Thirteen or so paragraphs and he took no stance on anything. Just a lot of fluff. Typical Methodist preaching.

  13. Patti LeCraft says:

    I’ve read all the reasons Oliveto is unqualified to be a Bishop. Then she should not have even been on the election ticket. Who was it that promoted her? That election should be declared null and void and we need to get busy electing a Bishop because we don’t have one. Oliveto and her proponents continue to push a false truth that she holds an office she cannot hold in the Methodist church. Stop being led where the truth does not follow.

  14. Ronald Richardson says:

    2016, A slate of 111 United Methodist ministers have come out as LGBT, challenging their denomination’s ban on “practicing homosexuals” and hoping to influence a major church-wide vote on LGBT issues…
    The first openly non-binary trans person was commissioned as a deacon in The United Methodist Church (The UMC) on Sunday, June 4th in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference. Rev. M Barclay, who uses singular they pronouns, is appointed by Bishop Sally Dyck to serve as a deacon …

    What next? Is Methodism developing a new form of Christianity?

  15. Gene Granadosin says:

    Those who cal themselves progressive/liberal UNited Methodists should form their own church and separate themselves from the General Church. This move will resolve this very long divisive issue .
    These group is determined to defy the Book of Discipline of the UMC, which clearly shows that they are ready to organize and support themselves.
    This will save a lot of money and unburden the financial support to these
    defiant group. The UMC today is already divided, the progressives are just masking it and hides behind ministries that are self serving.

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