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Memorandum No. 870

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October 28 1999
In Re: Review of Bishop's Decision of Law in the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference Related to a Petition on Inclusiveness of the Church Presented for Adoption by the Annual Conference.

Digest of Case

The ruling of Bishop Mary Ann Swenson which states that a resolution is in order that calls for the conference to be in ministry for, and with, all persons regardless of race, age, gender, marital status, ability, sexual orientation, social or economic condition, ethnicity, or any other real or perceived separating condition is affirmed.

Statement of Facts

The following petition was presented to the June 1999 session of the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference: The Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church resolves to be in ministry for, and with, all persons regardless of race, age, gender, marital status, ability, sexual orientation, social or economic condition, ethnicity, or any other real or perceived separating condition. The petition was referred to a legislative committee which requested a ruling as to whether the proposed action would be in conflict with the Discipline. The bishop ruled: That ACO5 (the petition) is in order according to the Discipline. 1. Paragraph 65G includes the sentence "We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons. This petition seeks to define what "all persons" might be in our regional context. 2. Paragraph 65G and Paragraph 305.3 both make a distinction between the orientation of homosexuality and the practice of homosexuality. Thus, ministry "for and with" persons regardless of their sexual orientation cannot be perceived as promoting the homosexual lifestyle. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Paragraph 2613 of the 1996 Discipline. Analysis and Rationale The bishop's ruling is affirmed on the basis of the rationale set forth in the ruling.

Decision

The ruling of Bishop Mary Ann Swenson which states that a resolution is in order that calls for the conference to be in ministry for, and with, all persons regardless of race, age, gender, marital status, ability, sexual orientation, social or economic condition, ethnicity, or any other real or perceived separating condition is affirmed.

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