The Bishops of The United Methodist Church Have Done It --- Again!

The Bishops of The United Methodist Church Have Done It ---

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20 NKJV
Since the below comments were written, an email letter has been sent to the bishops about their "pastoral letter" with a link to this area and also a link to another area raising the issue of lesbianism being ok for laity in the UMC but not for pastors! If you want to read the email which follows at the end of the below comments, you can go directly to it by clicking on Email to UM Bishops

November 7, 2005 -- The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church meets on a regular basis, discusses issues, makes public announcements, and somewhere in this mix one or more "pastoral letters" may be issued by the group. Each bishop usually makes certain that such letters are distributed within the bounds of his or her conference.

Such pronouncements are deemed necessary due to the assumption that the bishops are regarded as "shepherds" of the church. The "shepherd" status becomes most evident in annual conference sessions as clergy, district superintendents, and the bishop march in procession wearing robes and stoles with the bishop holding a shepherd's staff in his or her hand.

The declarations coming forth from a Council of Bishops session are not always consistent and at times generate more questions than those which are allegedly answered.

A most notorious example of this is the program initiated by the bishops years ago which was known as the Bishops' Initiative for Children. The emphasis was on ministry to children and their many needs -- children need to be properly fed, clothed, educated, protected, etc.

But with all the stress placed on the well being of children and ministries to insure the same, the bishops never so much as whispered a word about the protection and well being of a special group of children -- those who are unborn -- not even a whimper of protest regarding the brutal mutilation and murder of thousands of unborn children every week of the year in the so-called "civilized" United States! Literally the bishops by such action drew a boundary line at the entrance to the human womb and declared, "After children are born we want to be in ministry to their every need, but it doesn't matter if choices have been made that 100,000 or so per month are mutilated and murdered before birth!" It is obvious that it has not dawned on the "shepherds" of the UMC that the denomination is much poorer as a result of nearly 46 million unborn children being deliberately destroyed since January 1973! Who is willing to deny that at least some of those 46 million would have become members of the UMC if they had been permitted to live -- further, what contribution might they have made in sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and seeking to advance His Kingdom in a very chaotic world? At this point in time the "shepherds" of the UMC wouldn't touch that question with a 10 foot pole, as the saying goes!

Unborn Babies Brutally
Mutilated and Murdered

since Roe vs. Wade
January 1973

Watch this for 60 to 90 seconds
and see what happens!

However, the inclination toward inconsistency does not end with the clear distinction made between born and unborn children.

A few days ago (Oct 30 - Nov 4, 2005) the Council of Bishops met and out of that meeting a statement was released which addressed a recent ruling (#1032) of the Judicial Council.

A pastor, Ed Johnson, in the Virginia Conference had denied church membership to a homosexual man. The man in question was becoming involved in church activities, including singing in the choir -- he wanted to transfer his membership from another denomination. The homosexual was refused membership on the basis that he was practicing that lifestyle with another man and indicated to the pastor that he was not going to repent and forsake that way of life! You will note that the bishops in their letter which will follow shortly acknowledge that the man was a "practicing homosexual."

A complaint was filed with the result upon recommendation of Bishop Kammerer the pastor, Ed Johnson, was suspended with no compensation. The Executive Session overwhelmingly supported the bishop in her recommendation by vote according to reports of the proceeding.

Now here's the good part -- the Judicial Council reviewed the matter and ruled that Ed Johnson was correct in his decision to deny membership to a practicing homosexual. The Judicial Council also ruled that Johnson be given an appointment and be compensated his salary retroactive to the time of his suspension! Any way you slice it, it was a stunning rebuke to a bishop and her supportive members of the Executive Session -- a kind of well deserved "black eye!"

But when one of their own is taken down a few pegs in an incident such as this, you can depend on the "good 'ol boys & girls club" to make a response, which they did in rapid fashion. They drafted a statement which was unanimously adopted and here it is:

A Pastoral Letter to the People of The United Methodist Church
the Council of Bishops

By grace you have been saved through faith. -- Ephesians 2:8

Grace to you from Jesus Christ who calls his church to welcome all people into the community of faith as it proclaims the Gospel.

The Judicial Council, our denominations highest judicial authority, recently issued a decision regarding a pastor's refusing a gay mans request for membership in the church. In the case, this man was invited to join the choir at the United Methodist Church in the community. As he became more active in the choir and the church, he asked to transfer his membership from another denomination to The United Methodist Church. Because he is a practicing homosexual, the pastor refused to receive him into church membership. The Judicial Council upheld the pastor's refusal of membership.

While pastors have the responsibility to discern readiness for membership, homosexuality is not a barrier. With the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church we affirm: "that Gods grace is available to all, and we will seek to live together in Christian community. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons."(Para. 161g, 2004 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church)

We also affirm our Wesleyan practice that pastors are accountable to the bishop, superintendent, and the clergy on matters of ministry and membership.

The United Methodist Church is committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ with all people. We, the bishops of the Church, uphold and affirm that the General Conference has clearly spoken through the denominations Constitution on inclusiveness and justice for all as it relates to church membership:

The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth. All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking the vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection.

(Article IV, Constitution of The United Methodist Church)

We believe the ministry of the local church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is to help people accept and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We call upon all United Methodist pastors and laity to make every congregation a community of hospitality.

November 2, 2005

Lake Junaluska, N.C.

Earlier today I got my copy in the mail along with a letter from our bishop in which the attempt was made to explain why the Judicial Council was wrong in its ruling!

So according to the "good 'ol boys and girls club" Ed Johnson should have received a practicing homosexual into the membership of The United Methodist Church because among other things the denomination is an "inclusive" church and no one should be excluded from membership, right?

The flawed thinking and logic of the bishops leads us down a very treacherous slope. If we are expected to receive a practicing homosexual into membership, then how about some others who may line up at the door and seek membership such as:

    an adulterer who romps with his lover a couple or more times a week but is in church each Sunday with his wife?

    a fornicator who practices his sexual lifestyle with as many females as possible at any given time? In fact this guy has a belt in which he places a notch on it for each sexual conquest much the same as the gun fighters in the old west cut a notch on their revolver handles each time they dispatched an opponent to "boot hill" in a confrontation! But isn't Mr. "Bed-em-down" as elgible for church membership as much as the practicing homosexual whom the UMC bishops feel was unjustly and unfairly treated by UM pastor, Ed Johnson?

    Mr. X is a practicing alcoholic who claims a little drink now and then won't hurt anybody. But he goes on a binge a couple or three times a week and gets mean each time -- he beats his wife up and also his 3 children -- he's been legally charged with spousal and child abuse a number of times and the whole neighborhood knows about such happenings -- Mr. X also lives a few blocks from a United Methodist Church and decides he wants to become a member! Now according to the UMC bishops who are on record as advocating admission of a practicing homosexual into membership, then Mr. X should be admitted into membership also -- the only difference is that one likes to be intimate with a bottle of booze and the other with another man while enjoying the blessing and privilege of UMC membership with the UNANIMOUS smile of approval from the Council of Bishops of the UMC!

    a school teacher who enjoys sex with teen aged boys and "parties" with them on a weekly basis -- uh uh -- don't raise your voice in protest -- doesn’t this "lady" also qualify as does the homosexual as being a person of "sacred worth?"

    a man who gets his thrills out of getting sexually involved with children -- don't forget now, he is also a person of sacred worth and just as deserving of membership in the UMC as is the homosexual whom the United Methodist bishops are vehemently supporting!

    oh yes, how about that guy involved in the production, distribution and sale of pornography -- he would never leave such a lucrative business, but then, if the church leaders insist on admitting a practicing homosexual into UMC membership -- why not the pornographer? It surely is just as easy for him to profess faith in Christ as it is the homosexual who is in a "committed and loving relationship" with another man!

    and don't forget the female who has a committed and very loving relationship with her German Shepherd -- a female professor from one of the real BIG name universities in this country wrote a book on puppy obsession -- but it was not just love FOR dogs, but also love WITH dogs! (Documentation on this available upon personal request). So if Miss Y shows up at church with her German Shepherd and desires to be received into membership, who are we to deny her -- and certainly the "shepherds" of the UMC could hardly do so in light of accepting a practicing homosexual! So far as Miss Y with her German Shepherd "lover" -- if any UM bishop would object, which ought not to be since to the bishops the practicing of sodomy is now acceptable within UM church membership, she might well respond, "Don't knock it until you've tried it!"

    and as the can of worms opens wider, let's consider the possibility that Dick and Jane who are living together want to become members of the local UMC just down the road a piece from their apartment -- they don't hesitate to let it be known that they eagerly look forward each week to gatherings with others of their age for the thrill of engaging in sex orgies -- the more the merrier! Since our leaders like to stress how "diverse" and "inclusive" our denomination ought to be, then the addition of 21st Century "swingers" should enhance our "diversity" and present a very positive witness to the world -- after all we are a church of "Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors" are we not, and this kind of example would be a powerful draw in increasing our membership!

What's that? You object to foregoing suggestions as to possible candidates for membership? If the bishops insist that we be "inclusive" in receiving people into membership, there should be no objection to receiving persons such as mentioned above -- and we can't bring up the issue of laws and regulations since God has addressed the issue of human sexuality and the perverted ways in which it may be expressed and experienced, including that of homosexuality and lesbianism. And since the UMC bishops in their "letter" have plainly chosen to ignore what God has said about practicing homosexuals, then in order to be as consistent as possible, let us ignore all laws and standards pertaining to human sexuality, man-made and divine! Just cover all the bases by saying all these persons are of "sacred worth" and that is the basis upon which membership should be made available.

By their response to Judicial Council decision #1032 the bishops have really opened up a Pandora's Box of sexual immorality and abominations in the name of being a "diverse" and "inclusive" denomination -- with a veiled threat that no pastor should deny membership to any who are seeking such!

It also should come as no surprise that the bishops at this time chose not to comment on the Judicial Council's decision to uphold the original verdict in which Beth Stroud's credentials were revoked because she has chosen to live in a lesbian relationship with another woman. But after the original verdict, Beth was then "hired" by Germantown UMC as a "lay minister" and is doing everything she did before except administer the sacraments and perform marriages!

Is it correct to assume that she and her lover, Chris Page, are still living in the parsonage and that the utilities are being paid by the congregation as before when Beth was an ordained elder? Notice the fact that the "shepherds" of the UMC seem to have no problem with persons living in homosexual or lesbian relationships and holding membership in the UMC -- so, why don't we just go ahead and ordain them -- what's the difference? If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck -- whether it sits in a pew or stands and quacks behind the pulpit of a local UMC!

Finally -- will the bishops play politics behind the scenes in preparation for General Conference 2008 and seek by the extensive influence at their disposal to remove or drastically alter all references in the Book of Discipline which speak of homosexuality -- especially the statement reminding us that such a practice is incompatible with Christian teaching! Is Ed Johnson condemned because he believes that statement and takes it seriously when he deals with the issue of membership in the church he is appointed to serve?

A PS -- in one report of the antics of the Council of Bishops, note the statements of Bishop Janice Huie:

The announcement of the court's ruling caused "considerable conversation within the council," said Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, who led the seven-bishop writing team that worked on the statement. Huie oversees the church's Texas Annual (regional) Conference.

Many of the bishops had received calls and e-mail from pastors and lay people in their conferences who were "greatly troubled" by the ruling and were asking for clarification, she told United Methodist News Service.

"We wanted our response to be thoughtful, prayerful and to speak to the church," she said.

As the bishops worked on the statement, it became clear that there was unity within the council regarding the membership of gays in the United Methodist Church, she said. "I don't think it's going too far to say the council is of one mind that gay and lesbian people can be members of the United Methodist Church."

What? Did Jan really say what it looks like she said -- that is, about the council being of "one mind" on the matter of gay and lesbian people being members of the United Methodist Church? Does this mean that it matters not if these are practicing sodomy and lesbianism, as is mentioned in the pastoral letter -- a practicing homosexual was denied membership by Pastor Ed Johnson of the VA Conference? Below is a link which will take you to the Directory of the bishops giving all contact information -- it is time for the laity to rise up and say, "Enough is enough!"

An Email to the United Methodist Bishops concerning their "pastoral letter" response to the Judicial Council telling Charlene Kammerer and her Executive Session they did a bad no-no!


To: The Bishops of The United Methodist Church

It is understandable that you people would make a response when one of your own is rebuked by the Judicial Council. But to take the path you did will open a can of worms which you obviously have not considered. When you express dismay at a pastor refusing to admit a practicing homosexual into membership, then in effect you are saying those who practice other immoral lifestyles should also be admitted as well! See "The Bishops of The United Methodist Church Have Done It -- Again!"

The water is about as muddy as it can get on moral issues in our culture which is tragic since God has made plain what the boundaries are in regard to sexual expression and experience. But then, who wants to listen to Him anymore? See "What's This? Lesbianism Is OK for United Methodist Church Laity BUT Not for the Pastors!"

We need a large number of Ed Johnsons serving at the episcopal level in the UMC -- as for the present occupants, ask the average lay person who is keenly aware of the unanimous adoption of the Council of Bishops' "pastoral letter" and ramifications of same as to whether they agree!

Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in full connection
Western PA Annual Conference

NOTE to visitors here -- if you want to communicate your concerns to the UM bishops, you can find names, addresses, email addresses, phone & fax numbers at United Methodist Bishops Directory. This is organized by jurisdictions. Go ahead, write and let them know how you feel about this latest escapade!

A Significant Selah Moment!

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? even cry out to You, "Violence!" And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Habakkuk 1:2-2 (NKJV)

Hey! Look at the Number
of Unborn Children Brutally
Mutilated & Murdered in USA

since the USA started "liberating" Iraq
from the brutality of Saddam Hussein!

March 19 2003

Watch this for about 60 to 90 seconds
and see what happens!

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness....

It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void. Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

Romans 1:18; Psalm 119:126-128 NKJV

November 7, 2005
Clayton D. Harriger
Retired Elder in Full Connection
Western PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy, PA
AND Non-Affiliated registered voter, Cambria Co. PA

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