Judicial Council rejects reconsideration of gay bishop ruling

Translate Page

The United Methodist Judicial Council was unanimous in rejecting a motion by the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops asking the denomination’s top court to reconsider its ruling in the case of a gay bishop.

In an email to interested parties, the Rev. Luan-Vu “Lui” Tran, secretary of Judicial Council, wrote “after careful review and prayerful consideration, the Motion to Reconsider JCD 1341 of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops has been denied.”

The Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops filed the motion on June 12, contending that Decision 1341 unlawfully changes the definition of “self-avowed practicing homosexual.”

Tran said the Judicial Council usually does not disclose the vote to the requesting party but was doing so because the vote was unanimous. The request will not be placed on the fall docket but will be reported as a memorandum at the October meeting.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter

Like what you're reading and want to see more? Sign up for our free daily and weekly digests of important news and events in the life of The United Methodist Church.

Keep me informed!

“The denial was expected, but it does not mean that the issues are resolved or that the struggle is over,” said Richard A. Marsh, chancellor of the Rocky Mountain Conference who was part of the counsel for the Western Jurisdiction during an oral hearing on April 25.

The Rev. Keith Boyette, who was counsel for Dixie Brewster, the maker of the original motion for a declaratory judgment, said he was gratified that the judicial council had denied the motion.

Boyette said the status of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s only openly gay bishop, “continues under a cloud.”

“It is in the best interest of the church, the episcopal area where she is assigned and herself that the issues that give rise to this cloud be resolved as expeditiously as possible and in conformity with the requirements of the Discipline. I urge the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops to fulfill their responsibilities under the Book of Discipline expeditiously.”

The Judicial Council decision found that an openly homosexual and partnered bishop may be charged with disobedience to church law. Oliveto, who was consecrated as a bishop by the Western Jurisdiction on July 16, 2016, was not named in the ruling.  Oliveto now oversees the Mountain Sky area.

“Self-avowal does not nullify the consecration and cause removal from episcopal office but is a sufficient declaration to subject the bishop’s ministerial office to review,” the decision said. The council said it had no jurisdiction over the nomination, election and assignment of a bishop.

The secretary must receive all petitions for consideration by the court this fall by July 15. The full docket will be posted on the council’s website at least 90 days before its Oct. 24-27 session in Los Angeles.

Gilbert is a multimedia report for United Methodist News Service. Contact Gilbert at 615-742-5470 or [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests. 

Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

Mission and Ministry
Tim Tanton, United Methodist Communications. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Why church should care about press freedom

World Press Freedom Day is a time to reflect on the importance of newsgathering and the ties that connect freedom of expression and religion.
Mission and Ministry
Tim Tanton (center, in red), chief news and information officer for United Methodist Communications, shares updates with African communicators and other UMCom staff during the 2019 General Conference. World Press Freedom Day, observed May 3, commemorates journalists and highlights the difficulties they face while reporting truth. File photo by Kathleen Barry, UM News

World Press Freedom Day and the church

Tim Tanton with United Methodist News talks about giving voice to the voiceless and why freedom of information is essential not only for society but for the church.

Wesley’s Chapel makes history relevant today

While still welcoming visitors who want to see the church that Wesley built, the current congregation is firmly focused on the denomination’s presence in the community and contributions to global Methodism today.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

©2023 United Methodist Communications. All Rights Reserved