A Resolution
Encouraging Discernment

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Whereas, Discipline ¶4, Article IV of the Constitution of The United Methodist Church (UMC) recognizes that all persons are of sacred worth; and

Whereas, Jesus invites us to read scripture through the lens of the Gospel message as expressed in Matthew 22: 37-40, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”; and

Whereas, Scripture calls for diversity in ministry by persons viewed as outcasts according to religious laws as is illustrated by Paul’s proclamation, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28); and

Whereas, in the Wesleyan tradition, we believe that the Holy Spirit continues to speak to us through prayerful examination of Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason, and we conclude that all persons are equally valuable in the sight of God; and

Whereas, the Social Principles of the UMC state, “We deplore acts of hate or violence against groups or persons based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, status, economic condition, sexual orientation, gender identity…” (Discipline ¶162); and

Whereas, on May 7, 2018, the United Methodist Council of Bishops proposed allowing individual ministers and regional church bodies to decide whether to ordain LGBTQ ministers and perform same-sex weddings; and

Whereas, the called 2019 General Conference adopted the Traditional Plan relative to matters regarding human sexuality facing The UMC; and

Whereas, Discipline ¶304.3 prohibits self-avowed practicing homosexuals (as defined by the Book of Discipline) from serving as ministers in The UMC, and Discipline ¶341.6 prohibits ministers from performing same-sex weddings; and

Whereas, Discipline ¶304.3 states that self-avowed practicing homosexuals (as defined by the Book of Discipline) are prohibited from serving as ministers in the Holston Conference, resulting in the loss of effective and prospective ministers from ever serving in Holston Conference; and

Whereas, charging ministers with violations to Discipline ¶341.6 of the "No Same-Sex Weddings" ban would cause harm to individual ministers, to congregations, and to members of The UMC; and

Whereas, a way forward for The UMC in matters relative to human sexuality remains uncertain and in flux;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Holston Annual Conference encourage the General Conference delegates to the delayed 2020 General Conference and/or 2024 General Conference to prayerfully discern how they may support legislation that removes discriminatory language and the restrictions and penalties in the Discipline regarding ministry of and with LGBTQ persons.

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