Beloved BUSTH Community,
On April 28th, 2017, The Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church (UMC) ruled that the consecration of an openly LGBTQIA+ pastor as bishop is against church law. This decision was made following a complaint filed against the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC, after Bishop Karen Oliveto was consecrated as Bishop of the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area in July of 2016. Despite this decision, church law also states that clergy remain in good standing until an administrative or judicial process is completed, which means Karen Oliveto is still a bishop. Most likely, further progress will not be made until February of 2019, which is when a special session of the General Conference (the UMC’s legislative body) will be held to discuss human sexuality.
Our mission, as the Wesleyan Student Association, is to provide a space for all to learn about and grow in the Wesleyan faith traditions. We are committed to an open table, a space where all can enter and live alongside each other, no matter race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, or socioeconomic status. We hail from many different Methodist contexts, some of which are stricter in adhering to the Book of Discipline (the UMC’s constitution and bylaws) than others, but we choose to share life together, even though our beliefs do not always line up. We strive to be a community of love, mutual respect, and dignity, embodying the practices of personal and social holiness begun by our founder, John Wesley, who encourages us, saying:
“Though we can’t think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt we may. Herin all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.”
There is a great deal of uncertainty and waiting during this season, especially for our beloved siblings who have been personally affected by the ruling. We do not have answers to the questions arising from the Judicial Council’s decision. However, we seek to be transparent with our community about what is happening in the larger community we represent. We will continue engaging in this conversation with each other, with our home contexts, and with the larger UMC family. In true Wesleyan fashion, we are reminded of a hymn that charges us “To serve the present age, our calling to fulfill; O may it all our powers engage to do the Divine’s will!”
It is our hope that you will walk with us during this time, celebrating with us when we embody God’s love and justice and offering grace and accountability when we fail to live out that call.
Come; the table is open.
The Wesleyan Student Association
Boston University School of Theology