United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
810 12th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37203
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2006
Contact: Diane Denton
(615) 742-5406 office
(615) 483-1765 cell
United Methodist Judicial Council to Meet April 26-28
NASHVILLE - The highest judicial body of The United Methodist Church will meet April 26-28 in Overland Park, Kans. The meeting will be closed to the public and the news media. The Council's normal practice is to announce its decisions within a week of the meeting.
Among the items to be considered by the nine-member Judicial Council are petitions for reconsideration of decisions 1031 and 1032 handed down by the Council at their meeting in Houston last fall.
Both decisions relate to actions taken by the Virginia Annual Conference against the Rev. Edward Johnson for his refusal to admit a practicing gay man into membership at a local church. Decision 1031 pertains to errors in the complaint process, while 1032 deals with a pastor's authority to exercise judgment in determining a person's readiness to be received into membership. In each case, the Council reversed decisions of church law made by Bishop Charlene Kammerer and ruled in favor of Rev. Johnson.
The Judicial Council may, by a majority vote, reconsider any ruling or action it has taken either on its own motion, or on a petition filed by a party to the proceedings. Both Bishop Kammerer and the Virginia Board of Ordained Ministry filed requests for reconsideration of the decisions. Written briefs filed by the parties, as well as some by non-parties, will be considered by council members and a vote taken on each of the motions.
The Council may choose to deny reconsideration or to grant it. If it votes to reconsider, it could potentially issue a decision immediately or place the matter on the fall docket. Granting reconsideration would not necessarily mean a change in the outcome.
No decisions are expected to be available until some time the following week. All decisions of the Judicial Council are posted on their website atwww.umc.org. According to the Council's rules, no member may interpret or comment on any decision.
The meeting docket can be found at archives.umc.org/uploads/documents/Spring2006Docket.pdf. The motions to reconsider were received after the docket had been set; thus they do not appear on the docket, but will be heard along with other non-docket items at some point during the four-day meeting.