South Central Jurisdiction requests declaratory ruling on Oliveto election

Meeting in Wichita, Kansas, on July 15, The South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church passed a motion requesting a declaratory ruling from the Judicial Council in response to the Western Jurisdiction’s election of an openly gay bishop. The text of that request made by Dixie Brewster, a Kansas lay delegate, is as follows:


Bishop, I move that the South Central Jurisdictional Conference request a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council on the following matter:

Is the nomination, election, consecration, and/or assignment as a bishop of The United Methodist Church of a person who claims to be a “self-avowed practicing homosexual” or is a spouse in a same-sex marriage lawful under The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.


What is the application, meaning and effect of ¶ 304.3, ¶ 310.2d, ¶ 341.6, and ¶ 2702.1 (a), (b), and (d) in regard to the nomination, election, consecration and/or assignment as bishop of a person who claims to be a “self-avowed practicing homosexual” or is a spouse in a same-sex marriage or civil union? Further —

• Does a public record that a nominee for the episcopacy is a spouse in a same-sex marriage disqualify that person from nomination, election, consecration and/or assignment as a bishop in The United Methodist Church?

• If a jurisdictional conference nominates, elects, consecrates, and/or assigns a person who, by virtue of being legally married or in a civil union under civil law to a same-sex partner, would be subject to a chargeable offense, is the action of the jurisdictional conference null and void?

• Is it lawful for one or more of the bishops of a jurisdiction to consecrate a person as bishop when the bishop-elect is known by public record to be a spouse in a same-sex marriage or civil union?

• When a bishop, district superintendent, district committee on ordained ministry, Board of Ordained Ministry, or clergy session becomes aware or is made aware that a clergy person is a spouse in a same sex marriage or civil union of public record, does such information in effect and in fact amount to a self-avowal of the practice of homosexuality as set forth in ¶ 304.3, related footnotes and related Judicial Council Decisions?


  1. Licensed Local Pastor says

    Well this going to get interesting real quick, either they support the BOD and the actions of the actions of the jurisdictional conference are null and void it’s back to jurisdictional conference the Western Jurisdiction will go. If they do not uphold the BOD then it’s a free for all within the denomination and a complete break up of the connection as we now know it.

    • Carole Vincent says

      The jurisdictional conference has the constitutional authority to elect any elder in good standing.

    • Joy Blackburn says

      The Word of God is the Christian’s standard that should be held high. I appreciate the BOD as a rule book for UMC to use as a guide to keep order within the church. Sin is sin no matter how great or small. The UMC would not allow a known thief, adulterer, or ofher practicing sinner to be assigned to this position. So when the decision is kept simple, it is simple: repent, live God’s way or except the consequences.

      • AMEN!!!! From a person who has been a United Methodist all of my life. I can appreciate the fact that as it stands in our country now, we have the capability of worshiping as we please. But if you do not believe as the United Methodist do, as by the BOD, and are founded on, you are not a United Methodist! You should therefore, start your own church and leave the UMC. We are called to love sinners, but not condone or overlook such blatant acts that are totally against the word of God.
        My question is, how did this person become ordained in the UMC to begin with, and remain in He UMC? Can anyone say “Luke warm water?”

  2. John Weinstein says

    While a capital stewardship consultant, I was blessed to work with many UMC churches in Texas. The commitment to Scripture and to people was evident everywhere. From your history we who love both are sure you will address this sad situation with “truth in love”.

  3. Joan ramsey says

    Where in the bible is scripture that approves homosexuality or same sex marriage? Everything I read, Jesus totally disapproves.

  4. JoAnne Graham Fletcher says

    I hope the United Methodist church has kept the ruling, that there be no homosexual gay ministers who wants to preach within a Methodist church is not accepted. I feel this does not follow the Bible and would cause a membership drop which the Methodist seems to be having a problem with.
    If the United Methodist church is going to follow the doctrine of the Methodist church which the membership was built on, then it needs to stay as is. I know of some members who have left due to some changes which were made. The acceptance of homosexuality of gay ministers would be a mistake.
    I know some feel we are not being Christian by not acceptance of all one’s beliefs, but one should read their Bible.

  5. Fred Jones says

    Openly gay non-celibate pastors should be defrocked. This is a no-brainer. Rules are rules. Quit being so wishy-washy, UMC. Take a stand. We don’t need these people in our church.

  6. Joan Traylor says

    Openly practicing gay bishops – I can’t believe this flagrant flaunting of the holy scriptures, not to mention our Book Of Discipline, is happening in our church! It is heart breaking that some would take it upon themselves to sow such discord. God forgive us and save us!!!

  7. Disgusted with the Denomination says

    If this is allowed, this discredits God’s word as having no meaning as to instruction in how we should live our lives. What is right?? What is wrong, anyway. I would expect this of the world but not the Church. Our denomination is putting each one of us in a judgement position which we should not be put in if our rules would be executed by those in authority. Many will leave this denomination if this is not resolved.

  8. Time to accept the inevitable.

  9. Bennie D. Warner says

    Is it the Word of God, the Bible, The Book of Discipline vs, Sexual orientation. Declare this election bad!!!!!

  10. Jack Hankins says

    Thank you South Central Jurisdiction!!
    We are attempting to reach people for Christ and this garbage hurts the whole UMC denomination!!
    How soon till the Judicial Council will act on this request?

  11. Rolland Stratton says

    The Book of Discipline once allowed the ownership
    of slaves and the treatment of women as less than
    equal with men. So, it is time to change our
    sexist rule book again.

    • Keeblertex says

      The rule book is the bible. The BOD is a way to interpret and apply those values to today’s world. The BOD reflected that when the horrible time of slavery was legal. But nowhere in the bible does it instruct Christians to enslave others. However, it is quite clear on the homosexual lifestyle.

  12. Kimra Ross says

    It is wrong to elect, consecrate, choose a “self-avowed practicing homosexual” to the clergy. The Bible is clear on homosexuality. The Book of Discipline also seems clear.
    As a member of the United Methodist Church for over 40 years, I am greatly disappointed, and grieved, by the Conference’s decision. I read the Council’s statement as well. Inclusive does not been approving of things that the Bible speaks against.

  13. Wesley Gunn says

    Well, the BOD is clear. It really is time for a split. There is no reason to continue if those who lose the convention votes are inclined to disregard the Discipline. What is the next level of transgression the bishops are going to tolerate? Is it theft? Is it permitting child sexual abuse?

  14. Joel and Donna Hurley says

    The consecration of a self-avowed gay bishop is contrary to Biblical teaching and the current United Methodist Discipline.

  15. donald worrell says

    This better be settle soon or there will be or a mass migration from The UMC Church by those that still believe that the Word of God has some meaning left to it. There is no hatred here just the Truth to be put where it belongs in action. Stand for what you believe or fall for the Lie, God will not be mocked

    • Persist in prayerful faithfulness, and don’t leave the UMC at this crucial time! That’s just what the slippery-slopers want you to do.

  16. I think God did not write these rules with these reference numbers.

    Time to move on toward a more inclusive, loving church. Either we do this or we can forget ideas of a future with Methodist churches. Otherwise, young people and future generations will wonder why we were like we were. And they won’t know about Nesus, and they won’t know God.

    • So we change beliefs in order to boost attendance and then they’ll all change their beliefs. If I recall, we are not to mislead our brothers and sisters….especially if it’s just to boost attendance and membership.

    • Chris Terrill says

      Your assertion that “Either we do this or we can forget ideas of a future with Methodist churches” I don’t believe is supported by the facts. The Western Jurisdiction, where this disobedience is occurring, has lost more members than any other jurisdictional conference. The whole Western Jurisdiction now has fewer members than some annual conferences in other jurisdictional conferences. I’ve read statistics that say the North Georgia Annual Conference is larger that the Western Jurisdiction, and that the Virginia Annual Conference is nearly the same size. Why would the rest of us want to be like the Western Jurisdiction?

  17. Sherry Stanphill says

    I used to live in homosexual behavior. My church, Living Waters and Celebrate Recovery loved me and helped me walk out of what I have come to believe is sinful behavior. I have been free for ten years now. I do not believe we should have a leader in our church who is in such willful disobedience to the word of God and discipline as written for the Methodist methodology. Freedom from homosexual behavior is possible!!!

  18. Helen E. Jourde says

    It’s a shame that evangelical Christians continue to bully others due to misinterpretation of a handful of verses in the Bible. That along with their ignorance of human sexuality and fear of anything or anyone who doesn’t fit into the tiny little boxes they think people ought to fit in. Wake up!

  19. Kay Brookshire says

    I think that until the Book of Discipline is changed, we must follow it. There cannot be exceptions.

  20. Rev. Dennis O. Rinehart says

    I am a retired Elder in the East Ohio Conference. I applaud this request for a Declaratory ruling from the Judicial Council on Rev. Olivetto’s both Nomination & Consecration to the Office of Bishop in the UMC. The General Conference made no changes in The DISCIPLINE to allow this action. Our historic Doctrines & Discipline’s remain unchanged until another GC is convened and majority vote is taken. In addition, the Ordination Covenant mandates that all Clergy as full Elders holds us all accountable to God, our UMC, and to each other to: 1) Preach the Word;. 2) Administer the Sacraments; and 3) Maintain the Order (The DISCIPLINE) of the Church. The flagrant rogue attitudes of the Northwest Jurisdiction, additional Annual Conferences ignoring The DISCIPLINE in Conference Boards of Ministry, and the full Jurisdictional Conference for even accepting candidate who is a practicing self-absorbed homosexual person and allowing a vote to be taken is abhorrent, disappointing, disgraceful, and disobedient to our sacred covenant of Ordination. May wisdom and courage from God guide the Judicial Council in this decision-making process. If this decision stands, then the Jurisdictional Conference of the UMC has completed “THE SPLIT” of the United Methodist Church in the USA. Shame on us!

  21. J Russell Williams says

    You posted an article earlier about the election of Bishop Oliveto in the western jurisdiction. Well, I want to share a few thoughts and then expand on them later if there is such a forum.
    As a retired UMC pastor and college administrator, and with a college major in psychology, I understand in the counseling process something of the issue of discord and conflict. No doubt it exists within the UMC. The final straw for a marriage in ruins and deep hurt is to go you separate ways. I would propose that this seems to be the only solution to avoid more abuse and conflict.
    Until now the law of ownership of property and assets has kept this marriage together in somewhat of a headlock. But I would suggest how this has changed. The UMC is organized by jurisdictions and as of last week, each regional entity has voted on mission policy, elected new bishops for their region, and set budgets. Each jurisdiction acted totally independently of all the rest. Now the western jurisdiction demonstrated this in a greater way, they elected a bishop with credentials in conflict of the governing law of the UMC. I would suggest the greater good is to allow churches of the various jurisdictions to establish their own missional goals and in fact be organized as a new church entity. Yes, it is time to open the way for each local church to find a common bond. Martin Luther, John Wesley, Spurgeon, and others have gone before us showing the only solution to a divisive group. Let’s not fool ourselves by calling the United Methodist Church “the bride of Christ” any more than other denominational groups organized in your community. Let’s not dare use this sacred term to defend our doctrinal positions!
    So for now I conclude that the way out of this mess is exactly that…a way out for all parties .We would need 5-8 years to allow this process to emerge but it can happen. Names will change but groups will find their common bond on which to build their mission.
    When a marriage has failed, it is time to move on and find a new way. Otherwise, life will be miserable for all. Maybe I will more to say or perhaps others will speak their minds as well.

    • Merrill Bender says

      I agree it is time to separate. The majority of Worldwide United Methodists are in the traditional camp of keeping the BOD as it is and likely strengthening penalties for violation in the future. Each Church should be allowed to leave the denomination and start a new denomination or join an existing one if the vast majority of members of that church choose to do so. Those who choose to break the covenant they have with Methodists worldwide should choose a new name and be happy as a new denomination but no longer a Methodist Denomination because they do not believe in scriptural holiness or biblical authority that is a cornerstone to the theology of Methodism.

  22. Mary Lou hollingshead says

    I agree strongly with this request. How can these bishops who had agreed at General Confirenze to follow the Book of Discipline now go against their word? They have lied to us!! This needs to be handled ASAP or our church will split before the special council is formed to look at human sensuality as decreed by the General Conference!!

  23. This request is clear, concise, and direct. Of course it raises many questions. But, the immediate future of the UMC is now in the hands of the Judicial Council. Who are they and what are their options? I have no idea how this works, and I doubt many other Methodists know either — including our lawyer members.

    Good News, please provide us a detailed analysis of this procedure. Thank you.

  24. Bob Parker says

    I agree the split is long over due. The only thing holding it up is ownership of churches and pastor pensions.. Lets get it done and move on.

  25. East Coast Annuall Conference Pastor says

    they elected a bishop with credentials in conflict of the governing law of the UMC.

    Being an openly gay person is not a “credential” It’s not as this prospective Bishop has an advanced degree in Conflict Resolution in large groups. or another “credential”. if you’re on one side of the theological spectrum you think someone’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to their ability to function as a good pastor and you think traditional moral standards regarding marriage are optional, . if you’re on the other side of the spectrum you think traditional morality regarding marriage–one man with one woman in a committed monogamous relationship is both the biblical model and best for the proper functioning of society, as well as probably believing homosexuality is a sin . Me, I straddle the fence, I think gay people can and are good pastors; I just don’t think “marriage ” is a term that should be used for the union of a gay couple in the church. I don’t even think UM pastors should sign state issued married certificates.

    I also think people who take vows at ordination to support the Discipline should not them turn around and flout it. Bishops who perform gay marriages would be removedI. This Bishop in the Western Jurisdiction should not even have been allowed to run. It’s Gene robinson and the Episcopal Church debacle all over again except in the UMC.

  26. Tommye Jordan says

    There is only one decision that can be made if we believe in God and His Holy Word as read in the BIBLE.
    There is not acceptance by God of homosexuals and He set up marriage between a male and female, so followers of God cannot accept any change from His word. The Word of God is PERFECT and cannot be changed. Those who do not want to accept the Bible as written should form their own organization and not destroy the Methodist Belivers in God.

  27. Tim Richardson says

    The UMC church needs to take a stand. In my view, that stand needs to follow the Book of Discipline but more importantly that stand needs to follow the book from which we pattern our lives – the holy Bible. If our demoniination caves into

  28. Tim Richardson says

    Please make your voice heard. Contact Bishop Ough to let him know your thoughts. This is what I am sending him:

    I want to thank you for faithfully serving the United Methodist Church. I have been a United Methodist my entire life and gave my life to Christ at a United Methodist youth camp when I was a teenager. I am also the son and grandson of United Methodist pastors and have a son considering seminary. Unfortunately, if he attends seminary, it would not be at a United Methodist seminary. He, like me, has strong reservations about the United Methodist Church. Of utmost concern now is the stance the church is considering regarding homosexuality. It is time for the United Methodist Church to strengthen our stand and not let the beliefs of a minority control the destiny of the majority. We need to stand by Biblical teaching regarding homosexuality. We should continue to love these persons as Christ loved but without ordaining and marrying them within our denomination.

    We have had a clear position for many years and that position is weakening. Should we continue down a path of letting society dictate our future, there will be continuing efforts to erode other aspects of our faith and what it means to be a Christian. I pray that you will help guide the council of bishops to take a Biblical stand that is compatible with Christian teaching.

  29. Gene Grandosin says

    Best thing is for the General Cingerence to abolish the Western Jurisduction. Defund the financial support coming from the large conservative conferences to force them to form their own denomination , after all they have defied the BOD and solidified their intention to separate from the UMC.

  30. Glen Smalley says

    The entire Bible and specifically the new Testament book of Titus is very plain on this subject. The lack of quick action will have a deleterious effect on the Methodist church in a very short time. We either follow the Word of God or we share in the sin by association. Our church needs to pray for repentance of this and all our sins. Glen Smalley

  31. I am a life-long 56 year old Methodist in the Rocky Mountain Conference. I will not remain a member of my local UMC congregation or of the UMC denomination if the Oliveto election is allowed to stand. Like Cynthia Meyer, Karen Oliveto should be in preparation for a church trial and not to assume the role of Bishop.

    God’s Word is clear ~ homosexuality is sin. A person “married” to another of the same gender is living a lifestyle of unrepentant sin. Such a person is not fit to lead a UMC conference. The UMC should be informed by and obedient to God’s timeless Word, not the passing whims of society.

  32. Debbie DuBois says

    I am a former Methodist. About 10 years ago our leadership, Bishop Huey, informed us that our Pastor who declared himself as being a Universalist was within the belief structure of the UMC. Really? A person who believes ALL will be saved eventually. that there is no Hell along with many other false teachings. A group of us left the Methodist denomination immediately and we are so glad we did. So many in the leadership positions are corrupt and have succumbed to worldly views just to gain $ and congregational numbers. Unfortunately it has backfired on them and once you move away from the teachings of the Bible the pathway to death only widens. The organization is in a downward spiral and so it should based off the decisions they have made. Too Bad!

  33. Pastor Blane says

    “The hand writing is on the wall” ( It is time to spilt like the Presbyterians and Episcopals did and move on.

  34. I have been a UM for over 60 years, confirmed when in the 6th grade. My church is a part of the Western Jurisdiction that elected Karen Oliveto, self-avowed practicing homosexual. Even though those delegates voted endorsing defiance of our governing document, BOD, most of the people are not in agreement with the lack of character and integrity of our church leaders. It is heart-breaking that we will have to surrender our church to this minority so we can continue in the beliefs of real United Methodists.


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