Petition 81171

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On the Church Within a Church Movement (81171-FO-R9999)

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On the Church Within A Church Movement
WHEREAS, the Church Within a Church Movement (CWAC) is an unofficial caucus group operating within The United Methodist Church that, according to the “Historical Timeline” on its website, , has refused to commit to either staying within our denomination or leaving; and
WHEREAS, CWAC repeatedly denounces our United Methodist Church’s well-established, biblically based position that sex is a gift to be enjoyed only within the marriage of one man and one woman; and
WHEREAS, CWAC has developed and promoted its own process for “extraordinary ordination” of ministerial candidates as an alternative route to ordination for individuals who do not wish to abide by the requirements for UMC clergy; and
WHEREAS, CWAC has not been asked or authorized by any official body of our church to ordain people for ministry in United Methodist congregations; and
WHEREAS, if and when unofficial special-interest caucuses within our Church start performing their own ordinations with their own distinct standards independently of the official denominational structures of United Methodism, this shows a brazen disregard for our connectional polity and merits a response; and
WHEREAS, according to the September 26, 2007 edition of the unofficial United Methodist Nexus publication, CWAC executive director Cathy Knight recently wrote a letter to the secular gay rights group, Ocean Grove United, supporting that group’s work to have New Jersey government authorities take punitive against the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a United Methodist ministry established in 1869, for complying with the standards of our Book of Discipline by not hosting a same-sex union service; and
WHEREAS, Scripture clearly teaches that when different members of a church have a dispute, they should not take the case to the secular authorities but must instead seek to resolve it within the church (1 Corinthians 6:1-8);
Be it therefore resolved, that the 2008 General Conference hereby goes on the record as urging those who have been supportive of the Church Within a Church movement to refrain from such divisive actions that are contrary to our understanding of Christian faith and ethics, and urges them to respect to the integrity of our connectional polity.