UM Bishops in Philippines affirm Book of Discipline

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Students from Wesley Divinity Seminary, Wesleyan University, flash smiles and signs of affirmation during a March 21 United Methodist family march and rally in Quezon City, Philippines. Photo by SJ Earl Canlas and Jimuel Mari

Official Statement: The Philippines Central Conference College of Bishops continues to affirm the UMC Book of Discipline and the teachings of Scripture when it comes to human sexuality. We entered into a covenant relationship within our United Methodist connection through our baptism and ordination and now, especially in our consecration as Bishops, we continue to uphold the present language of  the UMC Book of Discipline as it is rooted in our Biblical traditions.

In so doing, however, we advocate the need for every United Methodist to have a safe and sacred space to discern God’s will and purpose for the Church. Every person’s confession and choice must be regarded with due recognition and respect. Every person’s sacred worth is treasured regardless of gender orientation and preference. We express deep concern that cultures and contexts have threatened the well-being of United Methodists in some Annual Conferences and others, and we therefore look for our Annual Conferences to be able to take stands and actions that are relevant to the call of the times.

We identify with United Methodists whose position on human sexuality exposed them to extreme situations of danger. In many ways, the pains and tragedies that involve threats to life and property demand a unified voice for the Church in order to preserve and protect not only the integrity of our Christian witness but the security of those most vulnerable as well. We prayerfully join all United Methodists in their hopes that the 2016 General Conference will lead us into a more inclusive and forward-looking future where our differences on issues concerning human sexuality are finally resolved.

We encourage our Workers and Lay Leaders to support ministries for LGBTQs and with compassion, provide for them safe sanctuaries in their local churches. We need to promote compassion and acceptance for gays and lesbians.

If that happens, the whole United Methodist Church will have greater focus in fulfilling its mandate as the Body of Christ. This will have an impact in the struggle for human rights and economic justice. It will have more energy to undertake programs and ministries that are anchored on discipleship and evangelism. It will contribute more resources to engage in ministries with the poor, fight for just and lasting peace, as well as unite for the defense of God’s creation.

To God be the glory!

THE PCC COLLEGE OF BISHOPS

Bishop Ciriaco Francisco

Bishop Pedro Torio

Bishop Rudy Juan

*The above statement was read by Bishop Rodolfo Juan during the In Ministry with All forum held February 8, 2016, at Central United Methodist Church in  Manila, Philippines.

Comments

  1. Licensed Local Pastor says

    First the African Bishops challenge the American Bishops and voice their support for the authority of scripture, now the Philippine Bishops voice their support for the Book of Discipline and the authority of scripture. Does anybody else see where the problem in the United Methodist Church lies?

    Why is it that the American Bishop’s are so intent on leading us down a road to perdition? Thanks be to God for our African and Philippine Bishop’s leadership and faithfulness to the vows they have taken!

  2. This is hardly a statement “affirming” the current position in the Discipline. The headline is either wishful thinking or perhaps reading it through rose-colored glasses with the text held sideways.

    Instead it appears to be just another bureaucratically weasel-worded statement: In the first paragraph, the Bishops simply state that they “affirm” the BoD statements on human sexuality stating that it is “rooted in our Biblical traditions” and that they have agreed to be bound by our covenant. This could mean anything from, “We agree with the position” to “We despise the position but will not violate our vows”.

    More tellingly though, the entire rest of the statement explicitly endorses LGBT acceptance within the church and calls for GC to “lead us into a more inclusive and forward-looking future”. The last paragraph is an explicit call for GC to resolve this issue so the UMC can focus instead on other progressive social causes.

    The headline should be changed. This is not a good news statement.

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