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WESLEYAN COVENANT ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON JUDICIAL COUNCIL DECISION
INVOLVING BISHOP KAREN OLIVETO
The decision by the Judicial Council in the matter involving Bishop Karen Oliveto has made some key rulings which provide clarity on important issues facing The United Methodist Church, with respect to our church's doctrine on human sexuality and the election of our bishops. At the same time, the Council has sought to preserve the fair process rights of all of our clergy including our bishops. We commend the Council for clear statements which will now govern the conduct of our episcopal leaders. The recent decision by the Judicial Council has the practical effect, however, of retaining Karen Oliveto as a bishop of The United Methodist Church for now.
Bishops, while elected regionally, are episcopal leaders of the whole Church. They are avowed to uphold the doctrine and discipline of our global Connection. The authority of a bishop who so flagrantly defies the will of the church as expressed through General Conference will not be respected by a large segment of our denomination, and rightly so.
There can be no unity without a shared commitment throughout our Connection to abide by a common set of doctrines, standards and rules. And there can be no sustainable future for The United Methodist Church, as currently structured, without accountability for all our clergy, including our episcopal leaders. We fear that this decision of the Council will prompt many more individual members and churches to withhold funds or to seek an exit from our denomination. The Council's ruling adds to the growing list of bodies that have not taken action that they could have taken to restore integrity to our covenant.
We call upon the Western Jurisdiction to accept and implement the decision of the Council, including promptly processing any and all complaints pending or that will be filed against Bishop Oliveto.
We further call upon those who feel they cannot, in good conscience, abide by the doctrines and discipline of our church, to seek an honorable exit from our denomination.
The entire burden is now squarely on the shoulders of the Bishop's Commission on a Way Forward and our next General Conference.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association calls upon faithful United Methodist churches and members to
unite with us and to remain steadfast in the ongoing struggle for the integrity of our Church during this transitional period. We ask all United Methodists to pray for the Bishops' Commission on a Way Forward; for the proposed special session of General Conference in 2019; and above all, for our beloved United Methodist Church, that God may deliver it from its current crisis, and lead us all into a faithful and fruitful future.
We further invite those who are committed to a high view of Scripture, Wesleyan vitality, orthodox theology and Holy Spirit empowerment to join with us as we continue to contend for the faith entrusted to us by the apostles. We are committed to working for a connection of churches and individuals passionately committed to introducing people to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, and helping them become His fully devoted followers; to advancing the Kingdom of God; and to fostering lives transformed by God's grace and the work of the Holy Spirit. We believe that this mission is enhanced when we work together for our common purposes as the uncertain future of The United Methodist Church comes into clearer focus. We can accomplish far more together than would be accomplished by each church and individual believer going it alone. Therefore, if your heart is as our heart, we invite you to join us in this journey at this crucial time.