United Methodist Church clergy voted against commissioning Tara Morrow as a deacon.
Last month, more than a hundred United Methodist Church clergy members and candidates, ahead of the Church's 2016 General Conference, sent a letter to the Church, requesting a change in its stance on homosexuality. No decision was taken during the General Conference, the delegates just appointed a commission to study the issue and report back. As of now, it is still the stance of the Church that the practice of homosexuality is not compatible with Christian teaching.
Last week, the clergy members of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, in an executive session, voted down the commissioning of Tara "T.C." Morrow as a deacon in the United Methodist Church. Morrow, who is married to another woman, was recommended by the Board of Ordained Ministry to be commissioned as a Provisional Deacon in January 2016. According to UMConnection, the conference’s newspaper, Morrow failed to receive the two-thirds vote needed for approval.
Morrow is a member of the Foundry United Methodist Church located at Washington D.C. She is an employee of the National Religious Campaign against Torture, based in Washington.
In a statement given to UMConnection, Morrow said that although the decision saddened her, she is hoping that the openness of the board recommendation would pose as an example to the commission appointed by the 2016 General Conference. Any discussions pertaining to the future of LGBTQ clergy and clergy candidates who are called by God to the leadership in Church are not just abstract discussions.
— Chris Woodward (@AFNCWOODWARD) June 6, 2016
According to the Baltimore-Washington Area RMN (Reconciling Ministries Network), an organization dedicated to the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in both the practices and policy of UMC, the clergy members of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference always accept a candidate recommended by the ministry board. The case of Morrow is a rare one. Daniel Fisher, chair of the organization, said that their connection with the United Methodist suffers when their members have to live under a “do not ask, do not tell” environment.
When Morrow was recommended for the position, Reverend Charles Parker, chair of the board, in a statement released on behalf of the Board of Ordained Ministry, had said that the board in general does not consider the sexual orientation of any candidate. No exception was made in the case of Morrow as well.
Following the clergy meeting, Bishop Marcus Matthews also called for prayers for Morrow and her family. He also called for the unity of the church as it continues to seek and do the will of God.
- Baltimore-Washington United Methodist Church
- Religion News Service
- Reconciling Ministries Network
- World Religion News