In Celebration of the Resolution in the case of Rev. Dr. Thomas Ogletree

Resolution for the 2014 New York Annual Conference

Whereas, for over three decades the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church has taken a stand calling for the inclusion of God’s gay and lesbian children in the full life of the church.  It has affirmed that “sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons” and that the diversity of that gift should bar no one from answering the call to ministry, from recognition of her or his covenantal relationships, or from membership in the church community.  It has gone on record in support of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in civil society; and

Whereas, the New York Annual Conference has declared (The Spiritual Crisis Caused by the Requirement to Discriminate,  2012) “that leaders of the conference, including cabinet members, bishops and members of boards and agencies of the annual conference, while bound by the Book of Discipline, are also bound to exercise their consciences and are bound by Jesus’s commandment to stand with the marginalized and the oppressed in our midst when called upon to enforce unjust laws, policies and procedures to the detriment of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals wishing to participate fully in the life of the United Methodist Church and those who minister faithfully to them”; and

Whereas, the New York Annual Conference has further declared that “that individuals who take punitive actions against others for offering the sacraments and rituals of the church on an equal basis do so contrary to the historic expression of the New York Annual Conference at the risk of causing grave harm to LGBT persons, their loved ones, their sisters and brothers in Christ, faithful clergy and the annual conference itself”; and

Whereas, the just resolution of the matter of Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree includes the following statement by Bishop McLee: “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”; and

Whereas, Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree stated in response to this just resolution that, “I am grateful that Bishop McLee has withdrawn this case and the church is no longer prosecuting me for an act of pastoral faithfulness and fatherly love. But I am even more grateful that he is vowing not to prosecute others who have been likewise faithful in ministry to LGBTQ people. May our bishop’s commitment to cease such prosecutions be the beginning of the end of the United Methodist Church’s misguided era of discriminating against LGBTQ people,” and

Whereas, Bishop Martin McLee’s bold act of leadership in declaring this just resolution has provided a model for the wider church, and all those who were a part of this case helped bring about this justice-seeking resolution;  therefore be it

Resolved, that the New York Annual Conference commend Bishop Martin McLee for prophetic and creative leadership in this critical moment in the history of the New York Annual Conference and of the United Methodist Church; and be it further

Resolved, that the New York Annual Conference thank the counsel for the church, the presiding officer, the secretary for the court, counsel for Dr. Ogletree and of course Dr. Ogletree himself for their role in making this resolution possible.

As amended and passed June 6, 2014