By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
A fortnight ago we featured an article reporting that the The Pacific NW Annual Conference voted to not enforce church law proscribing homosexuality. Now, The Western Jurisdiction Conference elected the first openly-lesbian United Methodist Bishop.
The Rev. Karen Oliveto, senior pastor of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco was elected on the 17th ballot which included The Rev. Frank Wulf, another openly gay candidate.
Such ordinations are in direct contravention to The Book of Discipline which reads as follows:
304.3 Qualifications for Ordination
“While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.
1. “Self-avowed practicing homosexual” is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual.
With several Annual Conferences adopting non-conformity to enforcing bans against gay individuals, the election of gay bishops I believe certainly shows evidence of effective inertia toward acceptance of our gay community members