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Statement from Bishop Linda Lee of the Wisconsin Conference

“The trial was truly a heart-wrenching and painful process. Yet, we have hope because of our common faith in Jesus Christ, and trust that some growth and good can come from this. I believe it was handled with as much integrity as possible. And I appreciated the mutual regard for each other expressed by the persons on both sides of the case, and all the persons who participated including the respondent, jurors, witnesses, counsels, the secretary and assistant for the trial, court reporter, our presiding officer, the host church, and all who helped in any way. A chargeable offense did occur; a penalty has been determined.

“Yet, there can be no real winners in a process which is adversarial in nature. There continue to be difficult questions with no ready answers as we face the months between now and General Conference in 2012. My prayer is that, as Christians, and as United Methodists, we will use this experience as a gateway to reconciliation, healing and restoration of our relationship with one another and with Christ.”

Blessings,

Bishop Linda Lee
Wisconsin Conference

13 comments

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  1. ballsnstrikes

    Sunday, I will me asked by many in my flock why this trial ended up in a wrist slap for a pastor who flaunts her disobedience of the scriptures and the BOD. Do I tell them that she knows better than General Conference? Do I tell them that we have lost all interest in the scriptures? What can I say? My conscience has been violated by the leftward drift of the UMC, and by the refusal to uphold our rule book.u

  2. Rev. Bill McBride

    FROM A MEMBER OF THE JURY: I was on the “Trial Court” this week. Tell you what BALLSNSTRIKES, you can tell your congregation this for me-“While we the 13 on the “trial court” (jury) covenanted not to share our “in room deliberations” that resulted in the verdict, we did not take our role lightly or easily. The penalty we crafted was our way to invite a process of restorative justice and invite healing and face to face collaboration and communication over what is unquestionably a divisive issue in the Wisconsin Conference and across the larger church. I speak personally and not for the trial court when I say, this is not nor never should be the time for legalisms, judgment or punitive action. I am guided as a UM Clergy by the highest law of all, to love God and love my neighbor; especially those marginalized by our culture and our laws. It’s easy to grab a verse and throw it in another’s face. When we hold up the law rather than grace and love, we build walls that keep people out and give ourselves permission to judge every one else who is different than we. Christ himself broke the law many a times because he sought to shed the light of God and appeal to love. We have a choice to either embrace the light, even when it illuminates our own sins or run for the safety of the dark which hides us in superficial security and never brings growth and health. It is my hope and prayer that Amy and all those named and all of us too will seek the truth, restore wholeness to our brokenness and seek to build up rather than tear down. I find it significant that the trial was conducted at Peace United Methodist Church. Please read the penalty and stipulations not as some punishment nor as a wrist slap, but as an invitation to health, wholeness, understanding and a renewed covenant among the clergy and within the church.

  3. Susan Curtis

    The BOD needs revision in my opinion. The laws were written by well-meaning men, but do not reflect, in this instance, the “great commandment” to love God, with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said that this was the summary of ALL the commandments, the law and the prophets. So exactly WHERE
    does the Methodist church fit in!!!

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