Genesis 1 reminds us that all creation is good, sacred, and holy. Other parts of our biblical narrative demonstrate that God’s call often extends beyond clan and race (e.g. Rahab and the Samaritan Women). Indeed, throughout the New Testament Jesus invites us into a new way of life—a life in which persons are justified not by the identity of their birth, but by the willingness of their spirits and the quality of their character.
Our Book of Discipline states: “As a diverse people of God who bring special gifts and evidences of God’s grace to the unity of the church and to society, we are called to be faithful to the example of Jesus’ ministry to all persons.”
It further affirms: “Inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the Church, the community, and the world; therefore, inclusiveness denies every semblance of discrimination... The mark of an inclusive society is one in which all persons are open, welcoming, fully accepting and supporting of all other persons enabling them to participate fully in the life of the church, the community and the world” (¶140, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2012).
We understand that “Ordination to this ministry is a gift from God to the church” (¶303.1), and that those whom God has called to ordained ministry are expected “to make a complete dedication of themselves to the highest ideals of the Christian life” (¶304.2). Moreover, we agree that “Without creative use of the diverse gifts of the entire body of Christ, the ministry of the church is less effective” (¶303.4, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2012).
We recognize that throughout the history of our denomination, groups have been excluded from ordination such as women, people of color, and the divorced. Currently the Book of Discipline denies ordination because of sexual orientation. We are called to inclusive ministry with all
believers, and we recognize the contradiction within the Book of Discipline related to the inclusion of all persons. Therefore, we will not consider matters related to sexual orientation or gender identity in preparing and recommending candidates for ordained ministry.
For these reasons and more, we present the following guidelines for the work of the Board of Ordained Ministry of the California-Nevada Annual Conference:
To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
To lead the California-Nevada Annual Conference in empowering The United Methodist Church in the ministry of wholistic discernment and inclusive ordination to ministry.
Any persons, having been called by God to set-apart ministry from within the body of believers, affirmed by the church, and fully assessed as having gifts and graces for ministry, will be considered for Commissioning and Ordination, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.
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