Trial Invitation

Rev. Amy’s Invitation to the Clergy of the WI-UMC

After the church’s trial of Rev. Amy and the restorative justice decision of the Trial Court, a proposal of new community among the clergy was developed.

You can read Rev. Amy’s Invitation to Covenant Document.

The Invitation was adopted by the May 31, 2012 Clergy Session of the Wisconsin United Methodist Church by a 2-1 margin (though the dollar amount was reduced to $5,000). The next steps of implementation will be reported here as they happen.

The first action was positive. The Annual Conference agreed to fund a Clergy Covenant Team at the suggested $5,000 level, $2,500 in 2012 and $2,500 in 2013.

The second action was a negative one. Tom Lambrecht, Vice President of Good News, appealed for a declaratory decision by the Judicial Council. We will find out whether or not our attempt to clarify a clergy covenant for Wisconsin United Methodist clergy is unconstitutional and if taking the vulnerable and minorities into account runs afoul of current restrictions on funding anything related to a mythical “homosexual agenda.” We will find out if the Judicial Council understands the development of a clergy covenant as advocacy for inclusion of GLBT persons. We see this as a nuisance suit that is intended to play to the Good News base to increase their heterosexist energy and fund-raising.

You can read the “Questions of Law” in an Appeal for a Judicial Council Ruling.

The third action was negative and then positive. The Annual Conference decision to fund the Clergy Covenant Team was reconsidered that a substitute motion might come forward — to reduce the funding to $0.00, with funding coming voluntarily from the clergy. The Annual Conference eventually defeated this substitute motion and reaffirmed its original action.

After Annual Conference Bishop Linda Lee had 30 days to respond to the Questions of Law that had been raised. Here is the announcement of her decision: On July 2, Bishop Linda Lee sent to the Judicial Council her ruling on the Question of Law that was raised by Rev. Tom Lambrecht at the Annual Conference session in June 2012. Bishop Lee has ruled that the Question of Law raised is hypothetical and therefore was not properly before the Annual Conference. The next step in the process is for the Judicial Council to receive the ruling and to determine if the ruling stands. The Judicial Council will likely take up this matter in their November 2012 meeting.

We understand the process to develop a Clergy Covenant Team is proceeding.