Church Trial

TOTAL NUMBER OF PAGES: 2
SUGGESTED TITLE: Consequences for Conducting Ceremonies which Celebrate Homosexual Unions or Perfoming Same-Sex Marriages
DISCIPLINE PARAGRAPH: Discipline ¶2711
GENERAL CHURCH BUDGET IMPLICATIONS: No
GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS: Yes

Add new paragraph:
2711.3.2
In cases where the respondent is charged with conducting a ceremony which celebrates a homosexual union or where the respondent is charged with performing a same-sex wedding the following consequences shall be applied following a church trial:

a) if the respondent is a bishop, that clergy person will return to his or her Annual Conference from which he or she was elected bishop for appointment upon completion of a 6- month suspension with all access to salary, continuing education funds, reimbursement funds, health insurance and pension payments withheld. Furthermore, should this former bishop conduct future celebrations of homosexual unions or perform same-sex wedding ceremonies and be found guilty of such either by a just resolution process or church trial, the following consequences will be given:

First offense – 6 months suspension from ministerial duties, suspension of salary for 6 months, withholding reimbursement account and continuing education fund access during that 6

months, but the clergy person may receive the benefits of parsonage/housing allowance, health insurance payment by the church, and pension payments by the church

Second offense – immediate surrender of elders’ orders to the resident bishop and termination of affiliation with the Annual Conference. If appropriate the clergy person may receive a settlement of pension benefits but not payment of retiree health insurance nor conference provided housing offered to retirees in good standing.

b) if the respondent is a elder, deacon or commissioned elder or commissioned deacon, First offense – 60 days suspension from ministerial duties, suspension of salary for 60 days, withholding reimbursement account and continuing education fund access during that 60 days, but the clergy person may receive the benefits of parsonage/housing allowance, health insurance payment by the church, and pension payments by the church

Second offense – 6 months suspension from ministerial duties, suspension of salary for 6 months, withholding reimbursement account and continuing education fund access during that 6 months, but the clergy person may receive the benefits of parsonage/housing allowance, health insurance payment by the church, and pension payments by the church

Third offense – immediate surrender of elders’ orders to the clergy person’s District Superintendent and termination of affiliation with the Annual Conference. If appropriate the clergy person may receive a settlement of pension benefits but not payment of retiree health insurance nor conference provided housing offered to retirees in good standing.

c) Should the resident bishop fail to uphold the courses of punishment for a respondent found guilty of celebrating homosexual unions or performing a same-sex marriage, that clergy person shall be referred to the president or secretary of the College of Bishops for either a just resolution process or a church trial. Should the resident bishop be found guilty of not upholding the consequences for a respondent who conducts a ceremony that celebrates a homosexual union or a respondent who performs a same-sex marriage, that bishop will be removed from office and will return to his or her annual conference for appointment.

Rationale: Since great conflict arises every time there is a church trial of a complaint involving a clergy person leading a ceremony involving a homosexual couple, this would provide a uniform policy across the church that is understood by all and adhered to by all thus minimizing this conflict. It also minimizes the extra conflict created by the sentencing phase following a church trial while a course of action is debated. This also prevents bishops and annual conferences from effectively rewriting the book of discipline by following their own concept of what should or should not happen.

Date: October 9, 2015
Name of the Petitioner: Rev. Mason Dorsey
Identification of the Petitioner: Full Elder, Florida Annual Conference

Pastor of: Everglades Community Church Pembroke Pines, Florida

Phone: 954-540-0741
E-mail Address: mason.dorsey@flumc.org