Enforcing Book of Discipline a chargeable offense?

If I read my Twitter feed properly, the Desert Southwest Annual Conference passed a resolution calling on clergy to defy the  United Methodist Church’s laws against conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies.

In the resolution as written but not as passed (I’m not sure as passed) the conference announced that anyone who brings charges against a clergy member for violating the Book of Discipline will themselves be subject to charges.

RESOLVED, that if such charges are brought, that the Desert Southwest Annual Conference and the United Methodist Churches of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference, Clergy and Laity will view this act (of charging another clergy for these reasons) as a Chargeable Offense per Book of Discipline Paragraph 2702 (f) relationships and/or behavior that undermines the ministry of another pastor; (j) harassment, including, but not limited to racial and/or sexual harassment; or (k) racial or gender discrimination.

To my reading, the resolution is saying not only that it will ignore that Book of Discipline but also that anyone who attempts to invoke the Book of Discipline will be subject to sanctions by the conference, which presumably means a clergy member could be stripped of his or her ordination for seeking to uphold the Book of Discipline.


Rob Rynders told me a tweet that this paragraph was struck by the Annual Conference before it passed. I’m glad to learn that, although the inclusion of this resolution at all seems like a bad omen for the future.

Here is the resolution that was adopted and subsequently sent to the bishop for a ruling of law.

14 thoughts on “Enforcing Book of Discipline a chargeable offense?

  1. Just to clarify, the original resolution was made available shortly before the start of conference. By Friday afternoon the authors pulled the original and replaced it with what was ultimately passed.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. So, the conference opened on June 26 and by June 28 the authors struck the paragraph and offered the substitute instead. It was a substitute rather than a floor amendment.

  2. You still have two paragraphs saying that the Desert Southwest Annual Conference is supporting clergy and laity who disobey the Discipline.

      1. It looks like this resolution goes another step than the one in JC 1220. I assume inviting the JC to go that further step as well. My assumption is the drafters of the resolution were intentional and careful in how it was written.

      2. The Judicial Council approved of language that is already in the Social Principles and language that asks that all of us be treated the same.

        This resolution supports public policy against the Social Principles, encourages clergy to violate the Discipline and that that the clergy should support those clergy who violate the Discipline.. I’m not so sure that the resolution will pass muster with the Judicial Council.

  3. 2016 will be interesting. When I saw this I thought we are going into new territory whether the original passed or the amended one. Strange days indeed.

  4. It’s worth noting that the original resolution was drafted in the name of an official committee of the Desert Southwest Conference Board of Church and Society. No question about their aspirations for UMs who concur with and and attempt to apply the teaching and polity of the church.

  5. Several people from several of the Congregations I have served in the past have inquired as to why I have taken early retirement and surrendered my Orders . Part of the reason can be found here. Can I quote your Blog John? Anyone really believe it is not time to split? As long as we think ignoring the Covenant and God Himself what need is there for a UMC? Mr Wesley you are needed again to remind us what a People called Methodist used to be about!

  6. who cares? another example of organized religion tying itself up in knots over non-issues.
    God is surely grieving when 80,000 children in Idndinapolis alone are going hungry, and people piddle around in meetings.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and write, JD. You make a good point.

Comments are closed.