By the Rev. Lara Bolger
The Pacific Northwest Conference Board of Ordained Ministry held their annual Spring meeting on May 4th at Bothell United Methodist Church. We began our meeting with a discussion of the recent Judicial Council decisions 1341, 1343 and 1344, and the potential impact these rulings have on our work. We recognized the amount of confusion and anxiety surrounding the decisions. The Board surfaced the questions we have about the rulings so that we can be prepared for further conversations as more is made known.
While the Board acknowledged that we are in a waiting period to understand what these rulings will mean in practice, we also reaffirmed the statement we created last Spring before the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon. In that statement, we described explicitly our practice of giving equal consideration to all ministry candidates irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Finally, we committed to communicating our decision to reaffirm this statement to our candidates and to our Conference.
Our statement reads as follows:
“We, the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Pacific Northwest Conference, hold our clergy and candidates to the highest standards of faithful and holy living. For some time, our practice has been to affirm that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities can live up to our high standards for fitness, readiness, and effectiveness in ministry. We will continue to give all candidates equal consideration, as we believe it is the most faithful way to do our work.
At this critical time in the history of The United Methodist Church, we believe it is important to state explicitly how we have been operating implicitly. We stand in solidarity with and fully support all of our colleagues and candidates in ministry who endeavor to transform our world through God’s grace.”
Adopted enthusiastically and unanimously on May 5, 2016
Reaffirmed November 2016 and May 2017
As we continue to do our work as a Board, we invite leaders to remain in deep prayer for our church and for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward.
The video that accompanies this post was originally released by Board members in May of 2016.