Preliminary Statement from UM Seminaries
As persons who have answered God’s call into ordained ministry we strive to lead the people of God through ministries of Service, Word, Sacrament, and Order. Like those who have traveled before us, we find ourselves filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to use the information of yesterday in correlation with our present circumstances, so that we can effectively minister to the church of tomorrow. While affirming the persons and experiences which make up our denominational heritage we also recognize our obligation to take an active role within the “laws, plans, polity, and process by which United Methodists govern themselves”.
Therefore we come to you with heavy hearts regarding the Judicial Council Decision No. 1032. We confirm the desires presented within the Episcopal Greeting found in the 2004 Book of Discipline, which calls The United Methodist Church to be “an inclusive society without regard to ethnic origin, economic condition, gender, age, or the disabilities of the constituents, and that the Discipline should portray “what is expected of its laity and clergy as they seek to be effective witnesses in the world as a part of the whole body of Christ.” This decision not only hinders the possibility of turning your desires into a reality, but it also confines the church’s procedure for carrying out our mission, “to proclaim the gospel, seek, welcome and gather persons in the body of Christ” by closing our doors to members of our communities. (Paragraph122, 2004 Book of Discipline of The United MethodistChurch)
We openly acknowledge that we do not speak for all persons in theological training nor are we of exact minds with regards to all aspects of the church. Nevertheless, we urge the College of Bishops to request a special session of the General Conference, as stated in paragraph 14 of the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, with the hope that our actions to make disciples match our statements to spread the universal grace of God while creating a community of hospitality.