Devotionals
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Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - May 23, 2018

Two weeks ago I wrote to share about the Commission on the Way Forward and the decision of the Council of Bishops. I also mentioned that there had been other news about the Constitutional Amendments, but that it would require it's own email.

Today I am writing to that end. I will say it has been both emotional and confusing as people found out the vote on the amendments, responded to that vote and then found out there had been a change in language prior to the annual conference votes requiring that there would be a re-vote this year.

As I said in the last e-spire, the General Conference is the only body that is allowed to change church law. For changes to the constitution of the UMC, the General Conference must have 2/3 vote and then each individual annual conference has to have a 2/3 vote in order for the constitutional amendment to be ratified. In 2016, there were 5 constitutional amendments proposed and passed. In 2017, each annual conference was presented information on each amendment and then allowed to vote for or against the changes. Then, all of the vote tallies were compiled and the final data was delivered to the Council of Bishops at their meeting in early May of 2018.

Amendments 3, 4, and 5 passed. Amendments 1 and 2 did not. For a general article about the amendments, please click here.

Amendments 1 & 2 dealt with gender equality and their failure to pass was met with a lot of hurt and anxiety, especially by women about their role and value in the church as a whole. To read a response from the female bishops, please click here.

The female bishops summarize the amendments in this way:

Amendment #1, which added language that both men and women are made in the image of God and that we will confront and seek to eliminate discrimination against women and girls, received an aggregate vote of 66.5%, falling short of the necessary 2/3 majority by .2 % (less than 100 votes).

Amendment #2, which added this language, "... nor shall any member be denied access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church because of race, color, gender, national origin, ability, age, marital status, or economic condition," received an aggregate vote of 61.3%, again falling short of a 2/3 vote.

The complete language is found in the Bishop's response. Since the release of the information there has been much discussion about why these amendments failed (especially in a denomination that has affirmed women since the beginning and has been ordaining women for over 60 years. When asked, some annual conferences shared that the amendments did not go far enough in changing the level of inclusion, and others shared that other pieces of the amendment were not agreeable. Through all of the discussions, it was discovered that the actual amendment language had been changed before it made it to the annual conferences, so there will be a re-vote this year at each annual conference. For more information on the specifics, please click here.

I offer this to you as information of what is happening in the denomination and for reference for what some of you may see or hear or read from Methodist friends or family.

At the end of it all I hope you will know these things:

1) Change in the church is possible, and often slow, but it is thorough and thoughtful.

2) I do affirm the place of women and girls in our church and around the globe and believe it is our job to ensure equality in treatment and opportunities regardless of gender.

3) As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

 

In Christ

Pastor Debbie

 

p.s. after reading yesterday's e-spire, some asked for the original language of each of the amendments. To find that, you can click here.

Have a blessed day!

 

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