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Memorandum No. 625

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October 16 1989
In Re: Southern Illinois Conference "Statement on Human Sexuality."

Digest of Case

The Southern Illinois Conference in its 1989 session approved document entitled "Statement on Human Sexuality." A motion to "refer the statement to the Judicial Council" was adopted. The motion to refer to the Judicial Council does not meet any of the disciplinary requirements for jurisdiction

Statement of Facts

CONCURRING OPINION While the Judicial Council has no jurisdiction in this matter as it has come to us, we feel compelled to comment on the "Statement on Human Sexuality" adopted by the Southern Illinois Annual Conference at its 1989 session. The statement declared it "affirms the position of The Book of Discipline on the issue of human sexuality." The Statement further resolved that "the Policy of the Board of Ordained Ministry on this issue shall be as follows: Ordainedministers are to be celibate in singleness and faithful in marriage and are to refrain from the practice of homosexuality and from the promotion of the acceptance of homosexuality. The Board of Ordained Ministry is empowered to require all persons under episcopal appointment to agree to live by this standard." (Emphasis added) The issue relative to homosexuality and the ordained ministry has been spoken to by the General Conference. (See 404.2, 404.4, 414.8(g), 424(a)(6), 431.6.) The Constitution, 15.2 authorizes the General Conference, to define and fix the powers and duties of elders, deacons, supply preachers, local preachers, exhorters, and deaconesses." Any attempt by an Annual Conference further to define and fix the powers and duties of ordained ministers would appear to violate the Constitution and the Discipline (See Judicial Council Decision 544.) Even though the issue raised by the action of the Southern Illinois Conference was not properly brought before the Judicial Council and may not be considered, we believe it is appropriate, by this Concurring Opinion, to caution Annual Conferences as to the extent of their authority. TOM MATHENY JAMES DOLLIVER ELIZABETH B. GUNDLACH JOHN B. CORRY WILLARD H. DOUGLAS, JR. GENE E. SEASE SALLY CURTIS ASKEW ALBERT W. SWEAZY

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