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Decision No. 865

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October 28 1999
In Re: Review of Bishop=s Decision of Law in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference Related to a Resolution Entitled AOn Pastoral Ministry with Homosexual Persons.@

Digest of Case

The ruling of Bishop C. Joseph Sprague that subpoint 3 of the resolution entitled AOn Pastoral Ministry with Homosexual Persons@ is not in conflict with the Discipline is affirmed.

Statement of Facts

At the 1999 session of the Northern Illinois Annual Conference a resolution entitled AOn Pastoral Ministry with Homosexual Persons@ was passed after discussion and an attempt to amend it. Bishop C. Joseph Sprague was asked, in writing, for a decision of law regarding subpoint 3 of the resolution dealing with commitment of two homosexual persons. Bishop Sprague ruled that the subpoint of the resolution was not contrary to the Discipline. Following that announcement, an attempt was made to appeal the bishop=s decision. However, no vote was taken on the appeal as required by & 2614 of the 1996 Discipline. Therefore, only a review of the bishop=s decision is properly before the Judicial Council. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under & 2613 of the 1996 Discipline. Analysis and Rationale Subpoint 3 of the resolution entitled AOn Pastoral Ministry with Homosexual Persons@ states that persons of the Northern Illinois Annual Conference are called upon to A...3) and with the spirit of Christ whose love knows no bounds, to acknowledge the commitment of two homosexual persons to be in loving and mutually beneficial relationships with each other and with God.@ There is nothing in the resolution which calls for disobedience to the prohibition of & 65C on celebrating services of homosexual union. The language does not contradict the Discipline.

Decision

The ruling of Bishop C. Joseph Sprague that subpoint 3 of the resolution entitled AOn Pastoral Ministry with Homosexual Persons@ is not in conflict with the Discipline is affirmed.

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