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Methodist Bishop Kammerer Invents Church Law, Cans Pastor, Demands Secrecy
United Methodist News Service ^ | 26 July 2005 | UMNS, Linda Green

Posted on 08/04/2005 6:24:09 AM PDT by mbarker12474

Pastor denies membership to homosexual, placed on leave

July 26, 2005

A UMNS Report By Linda Green*

A United Methodist pastor in Virginia has been placed on “involuntary leave of absence” for refusing to allow a homosexual to become a member of his congregation.

The Rev. Edward Johnson was placed on a yearlong involuntary leave of absence, effective July 1, by action of the clergy of the denomination’s Virginia Annual (regional) Conference on June 13. He will receive medical benefits but no salary.

The clergyman, pastor of South Hill (Va.) United Methodist Church for six years, could be reinstated as a United Methodist pastor in good standing if he fulfills recommendations from the conference’s board of ordained ministry.

The Rev. William Anthony “Tony” Layman, who was district superintendent when Johnson was placed on leave, said the pastor’s unwillingness to allow a homosexual to become a member of the church led to the filing of a complaint against Johnson.

Layman told United Methodist News Service that he worked with Johnson for four months before filing a complaint against him in April for refusing to allow the person membership into the congregation.

“For me, this was the last recourse,” Layman said. “Johnson had two opportunities to receive the person into membership himself or allow the associate pastor to do it. He would do neither.”

Johnson refused to obey the district superintendent or the bishop, Layman said. “It was this act of insubordination that put him on notice.”

Layman said he and other conference officials “did all we could do to help (Johnson) see the inconsistency of his stance in his ministry.”

“Our Social Creed says that we as a church would not ordain homosexuals, but they have the right to be received in membership,” Layman said. “The church supports homosexuals as part of the congregation and as persons of definite worth.

“Johnson has deep beliefs around this issue,” Layman said. “He is a man of integrity who is living out his conscience.”

United Methodist News Service contacted both the office of Bishop Charlene Kammerer, leader of the Virginia Annual Conference, and Johnson, asking for comment. No response had been received as of July 26.

According to the June 13 minutes of the conference’s clergy session, Kammerer said all matters in clergy executive session are highly confidential under the Book of Discipline. She urged the clergy members to honor that confidentiality.

Carole Vaughan, director of communications for the Virginia Annual Conference, would only confirm that Johnson had been placed on involuntary leave of absence. Due to confidentiality issues, she would not tell why Johnson was placed on leave. Officials at the South Hill church also would not comment.

Gary Creamer, a member of Johnson’s congregation, said the conference’s action “is unjust and over the top.”

“The church is not upholding the biblical principles outlined in Leviticus, 2 Timothy and Corinthians about homosexuality and the sins thereof,” Creamer said.

“I cannot see how you can take Holy Communion and openly practice that lifestyle. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. Now everybody sins, but we like to think that everybody who is a member of the United Methodist Church is attempting to repent of their sins. Openly practicing homosexuality is not an attempt to repent of sins, in my opinion.”

The placement of Johnson on involuntary leave stemmed from him being charged with violating church polity and being “unwilling to take direction from his district superintendent and his bishop,” according to the minutes of the clergy session. The action was confirmed by a two-thirds vote of those at the clergy session — 418-114, with 8 abstentions.

During the clergy session, Kammerer was asked whether it is lawful for a clergyperson to “receive into the membership of a local United Methodist church anyone who is able to receive the vow, affirm the vow and promises to fulfill the vow, and who, at the same time, acknowledges and impenitently practices homosexual relations?” Kammerer said the bishop and the district superintendent are charged to give guidance, as was done in Johnson’s situation, according to the minutes.

Kammerer also was asked if the permissive language in Paragraphs 214 and 225 of the Book of Discipline gave “Johnson the right and responsibility to exercise responsible pastoral judgment in determining who may be received into church membership of a local church.”

Kammerer ruled “negative in this case,” the minutes report.

In a July 26 statement, the evangelical Good News organization said the standards of Scripture and the interpretation of those standards within the Book of Discipline regarding homosexual practice are “equally applicable to clergy and laity, and that Rev. Johnson’s decision finds support in church membership vows.”

What was being denied to this individual was membership in the church, not participation in its programs and ministries, said the Rev. Tom Lambrecht, senior pastor of Faith Community United Methodist Church in Greenville, Wis., and chairman of the Good News board of directors.

“Good News acknowledges differences of opinion about whether it is appropriate to deny church membership to individuals based on pastoral judgments about their sincerity and the state of their repentance or lack of it. However, we do not believe that the Book of Discipline requires pastors to receive unconditionally everyone who presents himself or herself for church membership.”

Johnson may return to an appointment next year if he follows guidelines set by the board of ordained ministry, but Layman declined to discuss what those guidelines are.

“The board of ordained ministry is working with him in providing opportunity to return. He does have an opportunity to return to an appointment,” he said.

The case will also come before the Judicial Council, the denomination’s nine-member supreme court, which meets Oct. 26-29 in Houston. The council will review Kammerer’s decisions on fair process and pastoral authority under Paragraphs 214 and 225 of the Book of Discipline. The court automatically reviews every bishop’s ruling of law from annual conference sessions.

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: bookofdiscipline; churchmembership; edjohnson; homosexualagenda; homosexualmember; kammerer; methodist; nolongerchristian; pastor; southhill; umc; unitedmethodist; virginiaconference
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Issues other than homosexuality itself are:

- membership vs participation - discretion power over membership - who decides membership - power of Bishop, District Superintendent, Clergy - power of laity - secrecy of Va Conference of the UMC - test of profession of faith

Mike B.

1 posted on 08/04/2005 6:24:10 AM PDT by mbarker12474
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To: mbarker12474

"The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. Now everybody sins, but we like to think that everybody who is a member of the United Methodist Church is attempting to repent of their sins."

I agree, he must immediately repent and live a "straight" lifestyle" and if not faced the membership and removed from the membership. Once the door is open the flood begins.


2 posted on 08/04/2005 6:27:30 AM PDT by One Proud Dad
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To: Apple Blossom

ping


3 posted on 08/04/2005 6:29:41 AM PDT by bmwcyle (We broke Pink's code and found a terrorist message.)
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To: One Proud Dad

Unfortunately, we already allow open adulterers into membership so barring homosexuals is rather foolish.


4 posted on 08/04/2005 6:30:34 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: mbarker12474
Why would he go back, he would be a hypocrite. The Methodist Church is becoming secular and irrelevant
5 posted on 08/04/2005 6:31:15 AM PDT by boomop1
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To: mbarker12474

Is there a way that we can help this Pastor regain his position?


6 posted on 08/04/2005 6:34:45 AM PDT by Neoliberalnot (Conservatism: doing what is right instead of what is easy)
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To: AppyPappy
Unfortunately, we already allow open adulterers into membership so barring homosexuals is rather foolish.

You hit the nail on the head.

7 posted on 08/04/2005 6:38:29 AM PDT by starfish923
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To: AppyPappy

Unfortunately, we already allow open adulterers into membership so barring homosexuals is rather foolish.



I would prefer holding adulterers accountable rather than lowering the bar.


8 posted on 08/04/2005 6:38:57 AM PDT by PeterPrinciple (Seeking the truth here folks.)
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To: PeterPrinciple

I like this answer. The church is full of sinners but homosexuals openly defy God's word and have no sense of repentance. I would venture to say when I sin, and others, we try to gain forgiveness and stop the sinful behavior.


9 posted on 08/04/2005 6:42:41 AM PDT by One Proud Dad
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To: AppyPappy

We had a mini-scandal here in Houston a few years ago when Rice University football coach Ken Hatfield said he would be uncomfortable having homosexuals on the football team. He was deeply religious, and did not want such sinners on his team. However, I seriously doubt that his straight players were living celibate lives (when I was in college, football players usually had entourages of girls around them).


10 posted on 08/04/2005 6:45:24 AM PDT by Sans-Culotte ("...on Earth, as it is in TEXAS")
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To: PeterPrinciple
I would prefer holding adulterers accountable rather than lowering the bar.

As would I.

11 posted on 08/04/2005 6:54:30 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: Sans-Culotte

Good point. We tend to treat sin as if there is a point system.


12 posted on 08/04/2005 6:55:07 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: mbarker12474

What else shall we ban people for.
Working on the Sabbath?
Adultery?
Owning a Graven Image?
Eating Unclean Meat?
Not having Battlements on your roof?


13 posted on 08/04/2005 7:23:10 AM PDT by The_Repugnant_Conservative
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To: AppyPappy; PeterPrinciple; starfish923; One Proud Dad
Unfortunately, we already allow open adulterers into membership so barring homosexuals is rather foolish.

"Open adulterers?" Do you mean they bring their mistresses to church instead of or along with their wives? I guess fornicators and "polyamorous" types are welcome and openly express their non-Christian behaviors as well?

I'm glad I attend a Christian Church where all sinners are actually called to repent and follow Christ instead of one like this where such nonsense is openly embraced.

14 posted on 08/04/2005 7:35:01 AM PDT by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: xzins

Ping


15 posted on 08/04/2005 7:39:49 AM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: mbarker12474

Apostasy marches on... its so biblical.. i.e. supposed to happen..


16 posted on 08/04/2005 7:41:29 AM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been ok'ed by me to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: FormerLib

Nah. People living together. The Bible describes adultery as "sex outside a marriage" (See the woman at the well).


17 posted on 08/04/2005 7:49:11 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: FormerLib

It does make me sad. Our pastor is hinting about a coup so to speak in the Methodist Church if the liberal faction doesn't straighten up. I can only say I am glad I live in a small, Bible Belt region and our church doesn't contend with these issues yet.


18 posted on 08/04/2005 7:49:19 AM PDT by One Proud Dad
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To: BibChr

This is the same article reposted. I've no problem with that.

The truth is that the District Superintendent who says that homosexuals are denied ordination but are required to be brought into membership is lying.

The very biblical church rules state that "homosexuality is INCOMPATIBLE with Christian teaching." It also says that homosexuals "MAY" be received into church membership. The intent of the two is to say that REPENTENT, NON-PRACTICING homosexuals are eligible for membership.

We will simply have to address that specific wording at the next General Conference in May of 2008.

What is obvious here is that the bishop intentionally used the associate to undermine the senior pastor. It was the associate who turned the senior pastor in.

Does "Judas" ring a bell?


19 posted on 08/04/2005 7:59:21 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: EdReform; backhoe; Yehuda; Clint N. Suhks; saradippity; stage left; Yakboy; I_Love_My_Husband; ...

Homosexual Agenda Ping.

Another article about the Methodist minister placed on involutary leave ("fired") for not allowing a homosexual to become a church member. Keep in mind the man (I assume it was a man) was perfectly welcome to attend church functions; just not become an official member.

Might as well just give up on denominations like these and have home churches like in China.

Freepmail me if you want on/off this pinglist.

Note: A house of worship which institutionalizes sin as being something to assist, glorify, celebrate and practically speaking, mandate, is akin to decorating a dead body with lipstick, earrings, and nail polish. It's still dead.


20 posted on 08/04/2005 8:02:43 AM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: little jeremiah

see #19


21 posted on 08/04/2005 8:08:04 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: AppyPappy; One Proud Dad
People living together. The Bible describes adultery as "sex outside a marriage" (See the woman at the well).

That is correct, of course, but in modern parlayance, I think "fornicator" would be the more common term.

People who participate in such behavior should be welcome in the church so that they might hear the truth and turn away from sin. Lowering the bar set by Him to accomodate such behavior means the parish is preaching a false gospel.

22 posted on 08/04/2005 8:09:58 AM PDT by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: little jeremiah

The pro gay Methodist Bishops have been pushing the gay agenda for 2 decades. Now they are taking out the preachers/pastors who dare to stand up to them.


23 posted on 08/04/2005 8:10:43 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (The civilized world must win WW IV/the Final Crusade and destroy Jihadism!)
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To: mbarker12474

I say God bless the Reverend Johnson for taking such a courageous stand.


24 posted on 08/04/2005 8:16:52 AM PDT by desherwood7
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To: xzins

She is laying the groundwork for the Methodist Church to allow ordination of homosexual ministers. "If they 'must' be allowed as members, how can we not allow them to be ministers?"

I think it's line in the sand time for the Methodist Church. And I don't think the choice that is going to be made is the correct one.

This is not the church I was raised in.


25 posted on 08/04/2005 8:50:07 AM PDT by iceskater ("Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." - Kipling)
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To: iceskater; BibChr

The last General Conference, the classical, biblcial Christian position was upheld by 70%, a number that has only improved over the last few decades.

I think the Bishop's purpose was in concert with the homosexual man's purpose. I think it might even have been coordinated through 3d & 4th parties.

They wished to sow discord in that church as a test case for doing it in other churches with theologically conservative leanings.


26 posted on 08/04/2005 9:00:41 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins

Is the "Bishop" married? To a man?

Dan


27 posted on 08/04/2005 9:01:38 AM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: mbarker12474

It seems to me that both the Superintendent & the Bishop are bound by the same vows all pastors take when they are ordained, as well as the same book of discipline. It seems that this pastor chose to honor and uphold his vow in spite of being told different by his "superiors". If it was the associate pastor who "turned him in", how is his behavior not an act of insubordination as they are claiming Rev. Johnson's is for not extending membership to the homosexual man?

Satan's mission is to divide & conquer. This church was not providing a very united front. Looks like Satan is winning with that congregation. A situation that won't improve while they don't have a senior pastor.

Scripture does say to "turn away from sin". We are all sinners who should have a repentant heart. If we don't turn away, we are slaves to sin. While we can invite a sinner to church to hear the Word, they must also be trying through prayer, etc. to turn away from it. If they don't we need to explain why we (Christians) must dissociate ourselves from them.


28 posted on 08/04/2005 9:02:31 AM PDT by Apple Blossom (Michael Moore hunting party)
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To: BibChr

The denomination has a very strict rule against the ordination and appointment of practicing homosexuals, so I doubt that she could be married to a woman (overtly, anyway.)

If she's married it would be to a man. But I don't know her marital status.


29 posted on 08/04/2005 9:05:13 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins; BibChr

Married since 1970.


30 posted on 08/04/2005 9:14:00 AM PDT by iceskater ("Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." - Kipling)
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To: xzins

It sounds like the Bishops are just like the judges in this country. It doesn't matter what the people "want", what matters is what the judiciary (or bishops) "want.

Thanks for the info about the General Conference. Maybe there's still hope.


31 posted on 08/04/2005 9:15:56 AM PDT by iceskater ("Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." - Kipling)
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To: iceskater

If you read your bible about Pergamum and Thyatira in Revelation 2, then I think you'll get some idea of what the solution might be.


32 posted on 08/04/2005 9:29:09 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: bmwcyle

ping


33 posted on 08/05/2005 3:29:46 AM PDT by Apple Blossom (Michael Moore hunting party)
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To: FormerLib
I'm glad I attend a Christian Church where all sinners are actually called to repent and follow Christ instead of one like this where such nonsense is openly embraced.

Are openly practicing homosexuals, that is, when they come in with their "spouse," considered sinners, or does one assume that they are living together platonically?

34 posted on 08/05/2005 4:30:20 AM PDT by starfish923
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To: starfish923
Are openly practicing homosexuals, that is, when they come in with their "spouse," considered sinners, or does one assume that they are living together platonically?

Two men attending a service together would not merit so much as a question. If, however, they made a point of their deviant lifestyle, they would be called to repent and would be ineligible for membership until they did.

35 posted on 08/05/2005 5:52:19 AM PDT by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: FormerLib
Two men attending a service together would not merit so much as a question. If, however, they made a point of their deviant lifestyle, they would be called to repent and would be ineligible for membership until they did.

How would they repent? Is simply SAYING it enough? Would they have to live apart? Would they have to SAY that they are merely living platonically?
What would be the baseline for membership, I wonder?

36 posted on 08/05/2005 7:01:50 AM PDT by starfish923
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To: starfish923
How would they repent?

Excuse me, but repentance is a basic part of being a Christian. If they don't even know how to do that then they have a lot more to work on than mere appearances.

Is simply SAYING it enough?

That could possible fool some people but it would not fool God.

Would they have to live apart?

We wouldn't be sending a "Church Cop" to investigate, no.

Would they have to SAY that they are merely living platonically?

They certainly could not say that they were in a sexual relationship with someone other than their spouse (of the opposite sex, of course, there is no other sort of spouse).

What would be the baseline for membership, I wonder?

Obeying Scripture and Church teachings and participation in the Sacraments.

Saying they were homosexual and acting as if they need not repent would prohibit being a recognized member of the church.

37 posted on 08/05/2005 7:26:20 AM PDT by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: FormerLib
Obeying Scripture and Church teachings and participation in the Sacraments.
Saying they were homosexual and acting as if they need not repent would prohibit being a recognized member of the church.

Sounds about right.
In the end, it's a judgment call.
Would other church members make that judgment?

I'm not needling, really just curious.
It's always pretty much of a judgment call and the Catholic Church rarely makes it on individual members. I am wondering if yours does.

38 posted on 08/05/2005 8:28:48 AM PDT by starfish923
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To: starfish923
Would other church members make that judgment?

Actually, it would be the priest who had that authority.

It's always pretty much of a judgment call and the Catholic Church rarely makes it on individual members.

I would think that priests in the Roman Catholic Church could refuse Communion to someone for cause. Is that not correct?

39 posted on 08/05/2005 8:55:58 AM PDT by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: FormerLib
I would think that priests in the Roman Catholic Church could refuse Communion to someone for cause. Is that not correct?

Yes, it is but the priest would have to read the sin in the communicant's heart. He wouldn't ask or assume anything. I've never, ever seen that.
In my entire life, I have only heard of ONE refusal of communion and that was in the news this year.

I used to go to Mass where there were a number of halfway house folks. Some were downright nuts. They were never refused communion. I suppose the priest thought that the body and blood of Jesus could only do them good.

40 posted on 08/06/2005 5:54:42 AM PDT by starfish923
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To: AppyPappy

WHY do you allow open adulterers into membership? Are you of the same denomination?


41 posted on 08/06/2005 6:07:51 AM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: boomop1

Is this a member of the United Methodist Church (denomination) who is labeling the Methodist Church as becoming secular and irrelevant? By observation we would agree. We are here, though, wondering if many of the members of churches within the denomination are of the same opinion.


42 posted on 08/06/2005 6:10:23 AM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: Neoliberalnot
Perhaps, if you are a member of a church affiliated with the U.M denomination, you could work within that structure by organizing "laymen" (I really don't like the term "laymen"). And I would recommend that you choose as leaders among you those "laymen" who are recognized as avid Bible students, and able to readily discuss the issues, with your "clergy" (I don't like that word either) in the denominational leadership, from the Scripture. Do the local churches within the UM denomination send "lay" representatives to the conferences? Do these "lay" representatives have any particular qualifications that would place them more-or-less on par with the "clergymen" there (I mean for church leadership purposes)?
43 posted on 08/06/2005 6:17:34 AM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: The_Repugnant_Conservative
There are specific restrictions on partaking at the Lord's table and eating with the brethren.

1Co 5:11 -- But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Homosexual behavior would easily fall under the category of fornication.
44 posted on 08/06/2005 6:21:12 AM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: desherwood7

Yes, God bless him for taking a firm position. I would like to meet him or communicate with him. Does anyone know the best way to do that?


45 posted on 08/06/2005 6:23:20 AM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: mbarker12474

This is a college/seminary trained Methodist pastor, right? He has been ordained, we only assume, by a board or presbytery of Methodist ministers. He has done nothing to be "de-frocked" relative to his ordination. I would recommend that Pastor Johnson take that background and organize an independent Methodist church (that is, an independent local congregation) in which that congregation itself may set the standards for church discipline according to the dictates of its own Bible-guided and Spirit-led conscience.


46 posted on 08/06/2005 6:33:07 AM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: starfish923

The difference between ordinary sinners - in most cases - is they don't proselytize and attempt to secure acknowledgement and approval of their lifestyle.

Homosexuality is an especially grave and insidious offense. Look at what it caused in the Catholic Church.


47 posted on 08/06/2005 6:38:34 AM PDT by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
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To: mbarker12474
Oh, I forget to add, if Pastor Johnson wants to remain within a Methodist denominational structure, aren't there at least two more? Isn't there the Free Methodist option? Isn't there the Wesleyan Methodist option? It seems that Pastor Johnson is taking a more "conservative" course, and I believe that the Free and Wesleyan are both much more conservative, while retaining basic Methodist tenets. And I am assuming that the Free and Wesleyan allow a greater degree of autonomy to the local congregations.
48 posted on 08/06/2005 6:50:28 AM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: ZULU
The difference between ordinary sinners - in most cases - is they don't proselytize and attempt to secure acknowledgement and approval of their lifestyle.
Homosexuality is an especially grave and insidious offense. Look at what it caused in the Catholic Church.

1. When homosexuals go to Mass, they don't proselytize or attempt to secure acknowledgement and approval of their lifestyle. I don't see priests watching their, er, flock, while they are saying Mass, checking if any men are holding hands or displaying affection during Mass.
If those men (or women) are seen on T.V. doing so that doesn't mean that they may automatically be denied communion.

2. Pederast priests, their CRIMES in their parishes and the American Church's handling of those priess and their CRIMES caused the American Catholic Church their problems, not homosexuality perse.

The Catholic Church does about 95% of all the charitable outreach for homosexuals with HIS/AIDS. It ain't the homosexuality or homosexuals that are the "problem" for the Church. The Church made its own problems on that one. THEY allowed the pederasts to become priests and DIDN'T deal with them and their CRIMES when and how they should have.

49 posted on 08/06/2005 7:04:54 AM PDT by starfish923
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To: starfish923
The pedophile in the Catholic Church were all homosexuals.

Homosexuals openly flaunt their perversion and seek to convince others of the legitimacy of their acts.

They seek to get openly homosexual perverts appointed as clergymen, are pushing for state recognition of their unnatural relationships, stage parades, get people who condemn their activities fired, push for books and classes in schools which condone their activities.

Toleration of openly practicing homosexuals has not worked.
We don't tolerate openly adulterous relationships and don't tolerate other perversions practiced openly.

Homosexuality is a grave sin, the people who practise it are wrong, and society should stop tolerating these people and equating their perversions in a legal sense, with ethnicity, religion, race or gender.

They are thoroughly despicable.
50 posted on 08/06/2005 7:38:32 AM PDT by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
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