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.