RESOLUTIONS AND PETITIONS, pp. 174-180 of the Workbook

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RESOLUTION TO REQUEST THAT THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION LIMIT THE ADVERTISING OF SECUALLY ORIENTED PROUCTS, p. 174.

Essential Points: Young children should not be exposed to sexually oriented product advertisements inside or outside of the home. Such advertising should be limited to times and programs when young children would least likely be watching. Resolves to send resolution to Federal Communications Commission, and encourages church members to write to the FCC, local television stations, cable and satellite providers.

Evalution: While it is the responsibility of parents to control access to advertising and programs, it is becoming more and more difficult to do so when children are out of the home. A reminder to advertisers and venue providers may not be successful, but it is a start.

Recommendation: APPROVE.

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF FLORIDA FARMWORKERS, pp. 175-177.

Essential Points: Florida farmworkers have been excluded from fundamental labor rights, sexually harassed, verbally and physically abused, and in some cases exposed to slavery. The Fair Food Program has forged a partnership among farmworkers, the vast majority of Florida tomato growers, and thirteen major food corporations. This program commits to paying a Fair Food Premium for tomatoes they buy from Florida, paid to workers as a bonus, and commits to fundamental labor rights and treatment. Resolves that the Florida Annual Conference supports this program and its changes, and calls upon Publix Supermarkets and Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program.

Evaluation: This is a voluntary program and should be supported as presently constituted.

Recommendation: APPROVE.

ENCOURAGING JUST RESOLUTION PROCESS, pp. 177.

Essential Points: It is now legal for same-sex couples to be married in Florida. Ordained elders may be asked to officiate at same-sex weddings or request to use United Methodist church buildings to host same-sex weddings. These are in violation of the Book of Discipline, and could lead to church trials. Resolves to treat any complaint by means of a more informal “just resolution process” rather than through a church trial.

Evaluation: The Western Jurisdiction and other annual conferences elsewhere have resolved to ignore provisions of the Book of Discipline restricting marriage and ordination of active homosexuals, or to impose minimal punishments when a complaint is filed. Such actions encourage further disobedience. For those believing that the Book of Discipline should be upheld, and for those believing in the historic and plain teachings of the Scripture against such sexual activities (not orientation), this resolution cannot be approved.

Recommendation: DISAPPROVE.

RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT EQUALITY OF LOVE AND VALUE FOR BOTH BORN AND UNBORN CHILDREN, pp. 178-179.

Essential Points: We are commended by Scripture to love one another, to know that Christ died for all of us, that all of us are created in the image of God, and that we are to be just, kind and humble. For 2011, the last year for which full statistics are available, 84,990 women obtained abortions in Florida. Our Bishop, Kenneth Carter, has urged us toward a Consistent Ethic of Hospitality to Include the Unborn. We should be prepared to recognize and love unborn children as our “neighbors,” and welcome them as we are called to love strangers and “the least of these” in Matthew 25. We resolve to support the belief that both born and unborn children are equally loved and of equal value to God and God’s church.

Evaluation: The unending tide of elective abortions continues. We must as loving Christians be willing to extend our love to those yet unborn.

Recommendation: APPROVE.

CREATION CARE RESOLUTION, pp. 179-180.

Essential Points: We are mandated in Holy Scripture to tend the garden, to work it and to keep it. We are heirs of God’s creation, and should be faithful stewards, responsible for the way we live and use God’s creation. Resolves to annually adopt creation care practices for our churches in all areas of ministry and mission, to be an effective witness to these biblical commands through our theology, doctrine, education and outreach, and to teach our children to care for the garden of our earth, as faithful stewards.

Evaluation: We should be willing to help take care of the beautiful world God has given us, and to include this perspective in our planning, maintenance, mission and ministry.

Recommendation: APPROVE.

PETITIONS TO GENERAL CONFERENCE, pp. 180-189 of the Workbook:

NOTE: These have been determined by the Committee on Resolutions to first be resolutions. If approved, they would have been sent as Petitions to the General Conference. Unfortunately, as Resolutions, they have been submitted after the January 31st deadline. We may be able to convince the house to consider them by suspending the rules when the Committee on Resolutions report is made at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10th. Please be there to support these resolutions/petitions for further consideration.

Clergy Pension Preserved, pp. 180-181 (Paragraph 361 of the Book of Discipline):

Essential Points: When a clergy person withdraws from the ordained office or from the denomination for any reason, they will be entitled to the full pension credit they have earned up to the time of withdrawal. This includes all years of service and all funds deposited in their name.

Evaluation: This allows clergy to withdraw from being an ordained minister or from the United Methodist Church, without losing what they have earned towards retirement.

Recommendation: APPROVE.

EXPEDITED EXIT, pp. 182-183 (New Paragraph 2548 and 361.3 of the Book of Discipline):

Essential Points: Allows a local United Methodist Church to surrender its charter and withdraw from the denomination and annual conference, based upon reasons of conscience, witness and mission, so that it may better serve Christ and his kingdom. Requires 90 days of study, two-thirds affirmative vote, repayment of monies given to the church by the annual conference through grants or loans during the previous five years, payment of three times the current year’s apportionments.

Evaluation: Honors the consciences of people and allows for honorable withdrawal of a church in a ministry-affirming way, so that the central mission of the church in making disciples may continue.

Recommendation: APPROVE.

LIMITING APPORTIONMENTS, pp. 184-185 (Paragraph 615 of the Book of Discipline):

Essential Points: Limits apportionments to ten percent of the previous year’s income for operations and mission.

Evalution: Gives incentive to curb spending and forces prioritization of budgeting decisions.

Recommendation: APPROVE.

WITHDRAW FROM THE RELIGIOUS COALITION FOR REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE (RCRC), pp. 186-189 (Non-Disciplinary):

Essential Points: RCRC works to defend and expand the absolute right to abortion in any and all circumstances, including partial birth abortions. It opposes principles the United Methodist Church has adopted in its Social Principles that teach respect for the sacredness of life, and which do not affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control and rejects it as a means of gender selection or eugenics. Calls for immediate withdrawal of the General Board of Church and Society and United Methodist Women from membership in the RCRC.

Evaluation: Separates the United Methodist Church from the RCRC.

Recommendation: APPROVE.