Pacific Northwest Continues Defiance

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, UMNS photo.

By Thomas Lambrecht –

In a previous blog I reported that the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference would have an openly married lesbian as a district superintendent. At its recent session, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky ordained as a Deacon a woman who is married to another woman.

On June 25, Rachel Neer was ordained as a Deacon in full connection. Two hours prior to her ordination, she spoke on the annual conference floor, expressing appreciation for the annual conference’s willingness to “speak about the hard things in kindness and respect to one another.” She went on to state, “When I am ordained in two hours, my wife will be standing with me. This is not a small act. I would not be ordained in another conference.”

This action is in stark contrast to that taken by the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, which is also very liberal theologically. In that case, Bishop LaTrelle Easterling ruled that two candidates who are practicing homosexuals could not be considered for commissioning or ordination, abiding by the requirements of the Book of Discipline for “celibacy in singleness or fidelity in a heterosexual marriage,” as reinforced by Judicial Council Decision 1341. Bishop Stanovsky could have followed the same path but chose not to do so.

Unfortunately, such acts of disobedience are becoming routine in a number of annual conferences in the United States. In some places, it is the upholding of the Discipline that becomes noteworthy as a rare exception.

This action by the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference and Bishop Stanovsky demonstrates that we are two churches pretending to be one. One church lives by the covenant adopted by General Conference, while the other church lives according to its own different understanding of Christian faith. Good News believes that two churches practicing ministry in two diametrically opposite ways cannot long exist under the same roof. It is imperative that the 2019 General Conference decides a direction for the church, and that those who cannot live with that direction be allowed to peaceably leave the denomination with their property and assets.

Thomas Lambrecht is a United Methodist clergyperson and the vice president of Good News. 




  1. It will all be water under the bridge once the One Church Model passes at GC 2019. No doubt they are counting on that. And if it does not pass what are we going to do about the lesbian bishop and the lesbian DS? Nothing. Either way they get what they want.

  2. In the real world where I spent a career, those in direct, intentional, and flagrant defiance of institutional policy, no matter the reason offered, were ALWAYS the ones to depart either voluntarily or involuntarily. Why would the 2019 General Conference not follow this? Unless they do, the church will split.

    And yes, two churches pretending to be one is exactly this local option plan of the bishops. It is not only a lie, it is insane. Why would the General Conference vote for a suicide plan?

  3. One of the complaints by the progressives in the church is that if they are forced out that there is no place for them to go. We should work out a deal for them to leave the UM church and move to the Episcopalian church, who espouses everything they believe and then some. The worship is similar, the theology is similar, and I believe they recognize the status of our elders. It would be a easy switch. Maybe we could work out a deal with those Episcopalian churches who do not want to perform gay weddings to come to our side. Anyone who believes that the “One Church” model is the end of the issue should read the news coming out of the current Episcopalian general conference. They are trying to pass a rule that would force all of their churches to allow gay weddings. For progressives the local option is just a step on a road to full gay inclusion and access. Any GC delegates should be aware that if you vote for the local option you are voting for eventual full gay inclusion in clergy and marriage. You should now be forewarned. Compromise is not possible on this issue.

  4. Licensed Local pastor says

    This type of defiance by these so called Bishops will destroy the current United Methodist Church.

    • Dear Pastor,
      The “Church” as we know it is already undone, and operates in complete defiance of the Word Of God, and presently operates as an abomination. So sad to see what is transpiring, flagrantly throwing misinterpretation of Scripture into the Face of God.

  5. While I continue in prayer for the 2019 GC, let us be candid and very specific. We currently are faced with a cadre of bishops who practice heresy day-after-day and poor judgement after poor judgement. If there are ANY UM bishops who cannot live up to their vows to believe, subscribe to and uphold the Book of Discipline of the UM Church, they should resign. I do not accept their desire to morph the church into a modern version of the Tower of Babel or a religious agency, wishing to find social acceptance among those who find God’s Word too harsh and demanding. May God be with you on your way…but, you have forfeit your position of influence and have become a millstone around the neck of a drowning denomination. Your position of spiritual and moral influence is gone and you need to rediscover the truth and power of God’s Word. You have and will keep my prayers and best wishes…but, you no longer have permission to subscribe to ongoing heresy in the UM church!

  6. Robert Ball says

    Well-written! I assume your last sentence means, “Accept, apply, and follow the rules and orders as generally understood and adopted by the body, or resign!”

    • Robert,
      Yes…and thank you for the clarification. Because we cannot turn back the calendar, we will never know how far down the rabbit hole progressive and pandering UM bishops have taken the denomination since the late 60’s. However, despite the pending GC2019, I think it’s high time that someone in the church implored these men and women to come to their senses and take some personal accountability. If scripture and the UM BOD provides them with such discomfort, they should leave and find a group that will prefer their societal pandering.

  7. Jim Downey says

    Greetings to my fellow Methodists.
    I am an American by choice and a member of the United Methodist Church. I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, raised in the Methodist Church. I emigrated in 1966, and joined the Washington State, Des Moines Methodist Church in 1967.
    My friends, the experience of my friendship with persons who belonged to the Roman Catholic Church in Northern Ireland, the tribalism of hate in that country, the scorn of persons who were born into a slightly difference religious practice, made me wish to raise my children in an environment free from such practices.
    So, I chose America. The founders produced that great document, named the Constitution. I admire their foresight and thoughtfulness.
    Embodied in that great document is the guarantee of freedoms which are the right of all people.
    The current version of the Book of Discipline is clearly at odds with the guarantee of freedom for all people. Regardless of the reasons for thier choice of a partner, our laity and pastors are persons of faith and are capable of making significant contributions to the United Methodist Church.
    I am convinced that the restrictions in Book of Discipline are based on the Hebrew Law defined in the Old Testament. But are we not followers of Jesus Christ? The compassion and love of all people which He demonstrated during his short ministry on earth are at odds with the Hebrew Law of the Old Testament.
    It is difficult to cast aside our learned and inbred fears and doubts about other than hetrosexual relationships. I know that from personal experience.
    I trust that enlightenment on the genetic personality traits of the human race and the recognition of love in all of it’s manifestations will unite us in the ministry of the UMC.

    • Robert A Combes says

      and greetings to you Jim
      While we are all grateful for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the idea that we are free, we are not free to do any and all things that come to mind. Shall we participate in bestiality because we want to? Do we sanction pedophilia because it restricts someones freedom?
      God forbid!
      We have a Book that has been preserved through the age for instruction and guidance for carrying out a life well lived. The protestant church is still dealing w/ the fallout from the subject of divorce. There are prohibitions put there for our good and no amount of creative thinking to diminish the impact of sin can establish otherwise. Sin is sin.
      To what end does homosexuality benefit. It is contrary to the order recorded in Genesis 2 ;
      The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
      The man said,
      “This is now bone of my bones,
      And flesh of my flesh;
      She shall be called Woman,
      Because she was taken out of Man.”For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
      While Yeshua summed up all in saying, ” love God w/ all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as you love yourself”, we strive to love all, but can’t accept all behaviors contrary to the word of God, after all we are called to repentance.

  8. charles lindy says

    The United Methodist church is supposed to be a connectional system. There is already disconnection. The discipline is not enforced the way it should be. The can has been kicked down the road too long. It is time to make hard decisions and take a stand which is scripturally based. Those who support the LGBTQ agenda should go their own way and express their faith outsidse the UM church. If their agenda wins out at general conference, then the connectional sytem will be destroyed and the mass exodus of true bible believing churches will be phenomenal. I pray God directs the delegates to general conference with his Spirit and they follow the Holy Spirit and not the spirits of this world.

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