Despite a full communion agreement
between the United Methodist Council (UMC) and Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA), gay clergy are not welcome in the UMC.
Earlier in the month, the Lutheran
church voted in favor of a communion pact with the UMC that includes
the sharing of clergy the day before it dropped its ban on partnered
gay and lesbian clergy.
On Wednesday, Methodist officials said
the pact does not supersede its own ban on gay clergy.
“Our Book of Discipline on that
subject did not become null and void when they took that vote,”
Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of the United Methodist Council of
Bishops, said in a statement. “It still applies to United
Lutherans agreed, saying the communion
pact was not a merger.
“[If clergy in] same-gendered,
long-term relationships in the ELCA … want to serve in a United
Methodist Church, The United Methodist Church can say we are sorry
but that does not fit our protocols,” Michael Trice, associate
executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said.
“Union does not require uniformity in
all cases,” he added. “It requires faithfulness to the Gospel,
honesty with our Christian partners, and wherever we can share a
sense of mission and service in the world.”
In 2008, Methodist leaders upheld the
church's decades-old ban on gay clergy in a resolution that said
being gay was “incompatible with Christian teaching” and that
“self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as
candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in The United