January 2000


'Sacramento 68' Investigation Open Hearing

How You Can Be Supportive

Rainbow Candle.

Light an online candle for the Sacramento 68!
   You may use this candle or its larger version on your web site in connection with the online vigil. Link back to us at http://www.umaffirm.org/cornet/calnev.html. The list of those still under investigation (67 now) is here.

   On February 1-3, 2000, the California-Nevada Annual Conference Committee on Investigations will hold an open, public hearing regarding whether or not it is reasonable to forward charges on for trial in the case of the UMC against 67 Cal-Nevada clergy who performed a holy union last January, 1999. Testimony is expected by a number of witnesses, including expert witnesses in the areas of theology, community impact, history of the Cal-Nevada Annual Conference, and by witnesses to the Holy Union itself. The co-officiants of the Holy Union will also be questioned by the Committee. On February 4, 2000, the Committee intends to discuss and hopefully decide whether or not charges should be sent to trial.

   The hearing will be held at Community United Methodist Church, 1875 Fairfield Ave., Fairfield, California. Fairfield is on Highway 80, about an hour and a half northeast from Oakland or San Francisco Airport and about an hour west from the Sacramento airport.

How You Can Help

   Interested parties and supporters are encouraged to attend. Rooms have been reserved at the Fairfield Holiday Inn Select (707) 422-4111 under the name of United Methodist Church. There will be activities and events to show support of the clergy and the committee during the three, possibly four days.

Letter from MFSA & Committee on Reconciliation

Epiphanytide, 2000

Sisters and Brothers!

    May the Joy & Justice of this Jubilee year sanctify and sustain you -- forever! A year ago we got a little taste of "forever" in the delicious Holy Union of Jeanne Barnett & Ellie Charlton, co-officiated, literally, by hundreds of clergy & laity, and witnessed by thousands, inside & out!

   Now 67 clergy members of the Cal-Nevada Annual Conference are scheduled for open public hearings before the Conference Committee on Investigations, Tuesday through Thursday, February 1-3, at Community United Methodist Church, 1875 Fairfield Avenue, Fairfield, CA. The committee will be in session all day each day, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The committee's finding is expected to be announced on Friday, February 4.

   As co-officiants prepare themselves to be respondents, any public acts of witness and worship surrounding the hearings will come from other sources, most likely, the Conference Committee on Reconciliation and the Conference Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. As the chairs of those two august bodies (or is it, as the bodies of those two august chairs?), we are asking two things of your congregation, and of any other congregations you can and will contact in our behalf:

   1. Please bless a large candle in one of your services of worship and try to bring or send it the first day of hearings, to light during times of witness and worship outside the church each day of the hearings.

    2. Please choose at least one of the following times to give special leadership to the witness and worship.

Times are as follows: 1) Half-hour of Ritual Cleansing and Prayer each morning at 8:30 AM; 2) 30 to 45 minutes of "Circling" the building with love and with prayer, song, banner and sign, as many did during the holy union, at 12 Noon; and, 3) 30 to 45 minutes of "Debriefing"with testimony, song and prayer at 5:00 PM each day. We may improvise something of the last also at the end of evening sessions. The spirit throughout is the loving, outreaching, encouraging one of Ellie and Jeanne!

   Please copy this letter freely and communicate this request to as many as possible in and through your congregation! Encourage persons to come any time, and especially when your congregation is leading. The only condition of attendance is, no cameras or tape recorders. Feel free to write letters to local papers and contact local media. Remember the positive impact we hope these days may make upon voters confronting the sadness of the "Knight Initiative" on March 7.

   And please begin praying now for all parties to the hearings -- complainants, respondents, counsels for both, witnesses, and the committee members, as well as for the constituencies with most at risk in this birthing of a church reflecting the ever-expansive and inclusive love and loving of our God! Thank you.

Ellen Rowan, Chair, Conference Committee on Reconciliation
John Auer, Chair, Conference Chapter, Methodist Federation for Social Action

(PLEASE DETACH, and return to Ellen or John by January 25)

1) _______ YES, we will bless & bring a congregational candle.

2) ________ YES, we will help lead witness & worship at these times: (Please number as 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice and indicate willingness to lead more than once. Thank you.)

TUESDAY, Feb. 1: ______ 8:30 AM _______ 12 Noon _______ 5:00 PM

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 2: ______ 8:30 AM _______ 12 Noon _______ 5:00 PM

THURSDAY, Feb. 3: _______ 8:30 AM _______ 12 Noon _______ 5:00 PM

   John Auer, First UMC, 9 Ross Valley Dr., San Rafael, CA 94901, FAX (415) 453-7248; E-mail: jauers@pacbell.net

   Ellen Rowan, Trinity UMC, 285 5th St., Chico, CA 95928, FAX (530) 343-5815