GAYNZ.COM ARCHIVED ARTICLE
Title: Methodists say yes to GLBT ordination Credit: GayNZ.com; Methodist Church of NZ Features Tuesday 28th September 2004 - 12:00pm1096329600 Article: 432 Rights
 
The Methodist Church in New Zealand has made a landmark decision to allow ordination of gay and lesbian people, though individual church groups may pick and choose who they want as a minister and spome might prefer a non-glbt person. Lynne Frith, President of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, notes that the Church does not make any distinction between “practising gays” - ie. those in a sexual relationship or sexually active” - and the non-practising kind, as some Churches try to do, “though there are sure to be some members who would prefer to do so,” she says. Frith also says the Methodists make no differentiation between sexualities. “Sexual orientation never has been and currently is not one of the criteria for ordination. Therefore, a transgender person would be subject to all the same assessment as any other candidate for ordination.” She confirms that currently the Methodist Church of New Zealand has no policy on Civil Unions. Here is the text of the Church's public announcement of its landmark decision, followed by its Memorandum of Understanding which backgrounds and explains the decision. OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF DECISION Press release The Methodist Church of New Zealand has reached an understanding which allows the church to move forward on the ordination of gay and lesbian people. This is an issue which has been under debate for more than ten years, says President Dr Lynne Frith. A Memorandum of Understanding has been prepared which acknowledges the diversity of the church, the integrity of differing beliefs, and respects difference. Dr Frith says that within the membership of the Methodist Church there are those who agree with the ordination of gay and lesbian people and those who do not. The Memorandum enables those with markedly different beliefs to remain in relationship with each other within the church. It reaffirms that all candidates for ordination must meet the criteria of the church and that all placement of ministers is done with careful consultation. This is a moment in the history of our church in which we can take pride, says Dr Frith. Lynne Frith President Methodist Church of New Zealand MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING PREAMBLE At Conference in 2003 a statement was received from Council of Conference in which it was suggested that a memorandum of understanding in relation to the issue of the ordination of gay and lesbian people be prepared. Conference resolved to receive the statement and asked the President and Vice-President in consultation with the Tumuaki and the Executive Officer of Tauiwi Strategy and Stationing to initiate processes to enact the direction of the statement (see F-10, Resolutions of Conference 2003). They have now negotiated with representatives of those who do not support the ordination of gay and lesbian people, Tauiwi, and Te Taha Maori who do support and endorse the ordination of gay and lesbian people. The purpose of this Memorandum is to put in place protocols that respect the integrity of those who oppose the ordination of gay and lesbian people and at the same time to enable the church to move forward on this issue. In doing so it acknowledges that there are members within Tauiwi who do not agree with the ordination of gay and lesbian people. The following has been agreed by representatives of the Evangelical Network, Sinoti Samoa, Vahefonua Tonga 'o Aotearoa and Wasewase Ko Viti Kei Rotuma E Niu Siladi, who represent those within Tauiwi who do not support or endorse the ordination of gay and lesbian people, and Te Taha Maori, and is confirmed by the President on behalf of Conference. THE UNDERSTANDING This memorandum has been agreed by all parties out of a desire to remain committed to the Methodist Church of New Zealand / Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa. This Memorandum enables both those who agree and disagree with the ordination of gay and lesbian people to stand together with integrity within the Methodist Church of New Zealand / Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa. This Memorandum seeks to clarify the place of individuals and groups within the Laws and Regulations of the Methodist Church of New Zealand / Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa. It is acknowledged there are criteria for ordination which all candidates must meet. The Methodist Church of New Zealand / Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa is committed to a practice of appropriate matching in its stationing process which takes account of the diversity and need within the Church. This Memorandum affirms that the Mission Statement, Ethical Standards for Ministry and Pastoral Resolutions are the guidelines by which Ministry operates in our Church. Any person approached for nomination to either the position of President / Vice President should take into account all the tasks they are required to undertake and make their decision accordingly. Each individual ordinand responds to the Church's invitation to be ordained. Ordination acknowledges the unique gifts and graces brought to the Church by that individual. Provision of appropriate leadership in the Church in local / district / regional contexts will recognise the diversity of pastoral need. SIGNATORIES: Nigel Hanscamp - Superintendent, Evangelical Network Iakopo Fa'afuata - Superintendent, Sinoti Samoa 'Epeli Taungapeau - Superintendent, Vahefonua Tonga ‘O Aotearoa Susau Strickland - Co-Convenor , Wasewase Ko Viti Kei Rotuma e Niu Siladi Diana Tana - Tumuaki, Te Taha Maori Lynne Frith - President GayNZ.com; Methodist Church of NZ - 28th September 2004    
 
This page displays a version of the GayNZ.com article with all formatting and images removed. It was harvested automatically and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. A copy of the full article is available (off-line) at the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand. This online version is provided for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of PrideNZ.com. If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us