Statement by Bishop Martin McLee of the New York Annual Conference

As part of the agreement that resolved the case against Tom Ogleree, Bishop McLee made the following statement:

I am grateful to report that the matter concerning the Reverend Dr. Thomas Ogletree will not result in a church trial as a just resolution has been achieved. The just resolution provisions of the Book of Discipline are clear in voicing just resolution as the preferred response in Judicial Administration. Church trials produce no winners. While many insist on the trial procedure for many reasons, I offer that trials are not the way forward. Church trials disrupt annual conference life, they drain dedicated Episcopal and staff time. Church trials result in harmful polarization and continue the harm brought upon our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. The burdensome cost of trials, combine to negate any benefit in the ongoing debate on matters relating to human sexuality.

As the Bishop of the New York Annual Conference, in consideration of my responsibility to provide spiritual, pastoral and temporal oversight for those committed to my care, I call for and commit to a cessation of church trials for conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions or performing same gender wedding ceremonies and instead offer a process of theological, spiritual and ecclesiastical conversation.  I understand that nothing in this agreement deprives any clergyperson of his or her constitutionally guaranteed right to a trial.

In the next few months I will invite the Reverend Dr. Ogletree to join others from varying perspectives to a public forum on the true nature of the covenant that binds us together. Clearly there continues to be multiple perspectives on matters of human sexuality and the response of the church. While this forum may not resolve this ongoing challenge, it will provide an opportunity for healing and a chance for open and honest dialogue.

God bless us all as we seek to be light and life in a time of theological challenge.

All my prayers,

Bishop Martin McLee

March 10, 2014