In a previous blog I reported that the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference would have an openly married lesbian as a district superintendent. At its recent session, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky ordained as a Deacon a woman who is married to another woman.
On June 25, Rachel Neer was ordained as a Deacon in full connection. Two hours prior to her ordination, she spoke on the annual conference floor, expressing appreciation for the annual conference’s willingness to “speak about the hard things in kindness and respect to one another.” She went on to state, “When I am ordained in two hours, my wife will be standing with me. This is not a small act. I would not be ordained in another conference.”
This action is in stark contrast to that taken by the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, which is also very liberal theologically. In that case, Bishop LaTrelle Easterling ruled that two candidates who are practicing homosexuals could not be considered for commissioning or ordination, abiding by the requirements of the Book of Discipline for “celibacy in singleness or fidelity in a heterosexual marriage,” as reinforced by Judicial Council Decision 1341. Bishop Stanovsky could have followed the same path but chose not to do so.
Unfortunately, such acts of disobedience are becoming routine in a number of annual conferences in the United States. In some places, it is the upholding of the Discipline that becomes noteworthy as a rare exception.
This action by the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference and Bishop Stanovsky demonstrates that we are two churches pretending to be one. One church lives by the covenant adopted by General Conference, while the other church lives according to its own different understanding of Christian faith. Good News believes that two churches practicing ministry in two diametrically opposite ways cannot long exist under the same roof. It is imperative that the 2019 General Conference decides a direction for the church, and that those who cannot live with that direction be allowed to peaceably leave the denomination with their property and assets.