‘Third Way’ or ‘Third Rail’?

The “third rail” is the electrified rail that runs in the middle between train tracks of electric trains. Because it carries a high current, touching that third rail is almost always fatal. So the “third rail” has often been used in politics as an analogy for addressing an issue that could bring about political ruin. […]

Judicial Council Makes Crucial Decisions

At its recent meeting, the Judicial Council made some crucial and somewhat surprising decisions that affect how the church can hold its leaders accountable. Restore the Committee on Investigation The 2012 General Conference eliminated the Committee on Investigation in cases when charges are filed against clergy. This removal had the effect of leaving the decision […]

Lessons of Frontier Methodism

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn.” (Isaiah 51:1-2) In the midst of the ongoing numerical decline of United Methodism in the U.S., many bloggers, church growth consultants, denominational leaders, and historians […]

No Sign of Unity Based on Integrity

This past fall was a time of much activity in the realm of United Methodist officialdom. Within a three-week period, the Judicial Council, Council of Bishops, and Connectional Table all met. In its own way, each group’s actions contributed to a changing course for United Methodism. Judicial Council decisions. The impact of a variety of […]

Disappointment in Schaefer decision

Good News strongly disagrees with the October 27 decision of the Judicial Council to uphold the appeals committee and restore the Rev. Frank Schaefer to ordained ministry. Schaefer was found guilty last year of violating church law by performing a same-sex wedding for his son in 2007. The new decision overturns the good faith effort […]

Judicial Council to Hear Appeal of Schaefer Defrocking

One month from now, the Judicial Council will be meeting to make decisions that will affect many aspects of the church’s life and ministry. The Judicial Council, as our UM “Supreme Court,” has the final say on what our laws and procedures in the Book of Discipline mean and how they are applied. The highest […]

Issues That Divide

After enduring the controversy (and a trial) over clergy performing same-sex marriages, events within The United Methodist Church recently turned to other aspects of the church’s moral teachings on sexuality. Judicial Council decisions and annual conference actions focused on benefits for same-sex partners and whether self-avowed practicing homosexuals could be ordained or appointed as clergy. […]

Split decision at Judicial Council

In issuing their rulings for their fall docket, the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church made two important decisions that went in favor of the traditionalist perspective and two with which we disagreed. One-Fifth Requirement. In a surprising, but welcome, development, the Judicial Council invalidated the one-fifth requirement for questions of law to be […]

Dissident Group Promises Disruption

Because of a protest from a group called “Love Prevails,” the scheduled agenda of the denomination-wide Connectional Table was scrapped during its November 19 meeting in order to talk — once again — about United Methodism’s stance on homosexuality. “We’ve been left out,” the Rev. Amy DeLong told the group. “We’ve been kept from being […]

Trial and Consequence

By Karen Booth and Thomas A. Lambrecht – The beautiful, wooded hills of eastern Pennsylvania were the site of an unusual and painful experience — the trial of Rev. Frank Schaefer for violating The United Methodist Church’s ban on performing same-sex weddings. The Rev. Schaefer performed the wedding of his son, Tim, and another man […]

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