This statement was originally released on Monday, March 2, 1998 and was "retired" on December 24, 2000, before the 2001-2004 Book of Discipline went into effect. This document remains posted for historical reference purposes.
We, the undersigned clergy of The United Methodist Church, have watched for many years as General Conference actions have added increasingly condemnatory and exclusionary language to The Book of Discipline concerning the full participation of gay and lesbian persons in our denomination. The 1996 General Conference added the words, "Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches," (¶ 65.C, 1996 Book of Discipline) to the Social Principles of the church.
We understand the Social Principles to be instructive and legally non-binding. Nevertheless, we recognize the directive tone of this addition and make public our opposition to it by declaring that we will not be bound by it.1
We reaffirm the statement contained within the "In All Things Charity" document, "To withhold rituals of support and accountability for committed relationships is unconscionable. The standards for preparation and celebration of [covenantal unions] with same-gendered couples should be the same as for weddings of heterosexual couples."
We publicly state that we will celebrate rites of union with all couples, regardless of gender, as part of the pastoral responsibilities consistent with the gospel and spirit of Jesus Christ, entrusted to us by The United Methodist Church.
Please indicate your support for this commitment by sending your name, e-mail address (if applicable), and Annual Conference membership via e-mail to: email@example.com.
Your name and Annual Conference membership will be released publicly on CORNET's website, news releases, etc.
Please indicate you are signing the clergy statement.
Issued by the Proclaiming the Vision Committee (March 1998)
Greg Dell, "In All Things Charity;" Dick Royal Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA); Morris Floyd, Affirmation; Lawrence Jensen, "Supporting the Vision" from First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Mark Bowman, Director of Reconciling Congregations; Joanne Brown & Mark Henderson, CORNET; Laura Montgomery Rutt, National Organizer for Proclaiming the Vision, a project of MFSA. (This task force disbanded after Jimmy Creech's first trial. CORNET now maintains the Statement of Commitment signers' lists.)
1 Please note that while this statement pledges that the signers will not allow their consciences to be bound by the Social Principles, the Judicial Council decision #833 has declared that the church may hold pastors legally accountable for acting in a manner contrary to that prescribed to them by the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church.