From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Methodist Minister Pressured Into Silence
04 May 1996 20:38:44
96010 Methodist Minister Pressured Into Silence
After Declaration of Lesbianism
by Tracy Early
Ecumenical News International
NEW YORK CITY--A prominent Methodist clergywoman who recently announced
that she is a lesbian has agreed -- after coming under pressure within her
church -- to stop talking publicly about the issue of homosexuality.
The Rev. Jeanne Audrey Powers, an executive of the United Methodist
Church's Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns,
announced in July last year that she was going public about her lifelong
lesbianism as "an act of resistance to false teachings that have
contributed to heresy and homophobia within the church itself."
The official view of the United Methodist Church is that homosexuality
is "incompatible with Christian teaching."
Conservatives in the church called for sanctions against Powers'
commission on the grounds that the United Methodist Discipline forbids the
use of denominational funds "to promote the acceptance of homosexuality."
In a statement released from the commission's New York headquarters on
Jan. 3, Powers said, "The General Council on Finance and Administration and
the president and general secretary of my own commission believe it is now
difficult to separate my personal statements from those I may make as
associate general secretary of the commission."
Accordingly, she said, she had "decided to limit my public speaking
through General Conference to other issues on the ecumenical and
The General Conference, a policy-making body that meets once every
four years, will meet in Denver April 16-26, 1996. Supporters of a more
liberal approach to homosexuality will make a major effort, as they did
unsuccessfully in 1992, to change church policy.
Powers, who is due to retire in September 1996, said she had
considered retiring earlier "to ensure my personal freedom to encourage a
change in the Book of Discipline.'" However, she decided against that
because of her concern for other issues coming before the General
Conference and "because I have been vocationally committed to the unity of
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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