In witness, Wogaman surrenders clergy credentials

May 31, 2017

Clergy pray around Phil Wogaman, center, after he surrendered his credentials during the clergy session Wednesday afternoon.

This article was updated on June 8, 2017.

By Erik Alsgaard

J. Phillip Wogaman, who was going to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his Elder’s ordination next month, unexpectedly turned in his clergy credentials to Bishop LaTrelle Easterling Wednesday afternoon during the BWC’s clergy session.

Wogaman made the gesture during a moment of personal privilege. He said that his “heart breaks” for T.C. Morrow, a lesbian who was not approved for ordination as a Deacon in 2016 and who was not brought forth to the clergy session this year, and for “others like her” with the gifts and graces for ordained ministry “who have been excluded as a result of bad church law, applied legalistically and hurtfully.”

The United Methodist Church prohibits the ordination of self-avowed, practicing homosexuals, and has since 1972.

Morrow, who sought ordination again this year, had her status remain as a certified candidate after a May 2017 Judicial Council ruling stated that Boards of Ordained Ministry were required to ask about a candidate’s sexual practice as part of their examination. The BWC’s BoOM took that decision into account, said the Rev. C. Anthony Hunt, chair, when it reached its decision not to recommend her to the full clergy session.

In a statement, Hunt said, “In our discernment, the Board recognizes that the Judicial Council, in its recent declarative decisions, did not change, add or delete disciplinary language or requirements to the candidacy, licensing, and ordination processes, and that Boards of Ordained Ministry are not at liberty to disregard qualifications for licensed and ordained ministry in its evaluation and examination processes.”

The 2016 BoOM, in bringing Morrow to the clergy session, decided that asking about any candidate’s sexual practice was not part of their examination.

The Board, Hunt said in a statement after the clergy session, will form a task force to “review our policies and procedures to ensure that we appropriately examine our candidates.” In the meantime, he said, the Board will follow the Book of Discipline as per the Judicial Council’s ruling in making a “full examination” of people seeking local pastor licenses, commissioning and full membership.

Bishop Easterling, who repeatedly asked Wogaman to reconsider his decision, tearfully accepted the credentials after he placed them in a sealed envelope in front of her.

After receiving the credentials, Bishop Easterling called for a moment of prayer. Dozens of clergy came forward and laid hands on Wogaman as the bishop prayed.

Wogaman, 85, who counts in his ministry resume serving as a delegate to four General Conferences, as senior pastor at Foundry UMC and as Dean of Wesley Theological Seminary, said in a statement after the session that “in the twilight years of my life and ministry, I must join with T.C. and others outside the clergy circle by surrendering my credentials today. I do this with a heavy heart. I’ve had to ask myself, ‘How could I remain inside the association of clergy when someone like her (Morrow) must remain outside?’”

Wogaman said he began thinking about this course of action after the recent Judicial Council decisions. It was after they were announced, he said, that Morrow was informed by the BoOM that she would not be brought forward this year.

“That really moved me,” he said. “I have known her for many years. (Morrow is a member of Foundry UMC.) She is highly qualified.”

Wogaman, who did not notify Morrow of his intentions beforehand, said that he did not take this decision lightly.

“I really wanted the point to register that this is not just administrative decision making, routinely,” he said. “This is very serious; it bears upon the character not just of the conference but the whole church. There’s something here that transcends law.”

Wogaman stressed in his statement that he hoped others who may be tempted to follow in his footsteps would not do so. “I beg all of you to remain within the circle,” he said. “If you think as I do, let me be your representative (outside the circle).”

The Rev. Kara Scroggins, who was ordained an Elder June 2, spoke on the floor of conference during a moment of personal privilege. She said Wogaman’s actions had affected her, but that she was staying in the system to affect change.

“I am joyful to be a part of this connection, to be recommended and ordained for servant ministry with and among you,” Scroggins said. “Today, I choose to stay. If I were to walk away, it would be because there is simply too much pain, too much brokenness, to stay. And I don’t know a God, I don’t serve a Savior, who ever walked away from a community’s pain, or shrank back and said, ‘too broken.’”

Ann Brown Birkel, a member of Foundry UMC, where Wogaman served as her senior pastor, also spoke to the conference about his actions.

Calling it a “dark day” because Wogaman surrendered his credentials and Morrow was not recommended by the Board, Birkel recounted the BWC’s history of advocacy in this area.

Yes, she said, “we have taken a step backwards. The Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference has a unique role to play due to our history — our diversity — and our experience on this journey at this critical moment in the life of our church. We should model the inclusion we have endorsed for the church at large as we move toward the special called General Conference.”

Lillian Geib Jun 1, 2017 6:49am

Broken hearts, closed minds, and locked doors. Such a sad situation.

Cindy Pomeroy Jun 1, 2017 10:34am

Blessings on your broken heart, Phil, you carry many of us with you in gratitude. Cindy

Rancid Rick Jun 1, 2017 10:38am

I don't agree with this clergyman but I deeply respect him. He had the courage to resign. There are others that should have had the basic decency to resign much earlier. When you cannot abide by the law find some other place to hang your hat!

Al Rieke Jun 1, 2017 11:07am

Well done, Phil, your action will further the cause of inclusiveness

Buddy C Jun 1, 2017 12:24pm

Thank you Dr. Wogaman. He was the pastor of Foundry UMC when I and the First Family (Clintons) both attended church there. He was and is a phenomenal pastor who always walked his talk. He was also the spiritual advisor and confidant of Pres Clinton during and after the impeachment process.

M. Simank Jun 1, 2017 1:10pm

As the daughter of an almost 95 year old "exclusionary pastor", I applaud your courage and compassion. It breaks my heart to see my father and others exclude anyone based on their sexuality. It is not Christ like but your brave action is indeed in line with the teachings of Jesus.

Grammy Jun 1, 2017 1:12pm

Rancid Rick, your handle says it all. People like you are not filled with grace and compassion.

Mary Kraus Jun 1, 2017 2:42pm

Once again you lead us Phil and I am grateful to count you as the humble giant that you are and my "clergy" colleague which you will always be. As you state, "There is something here that transcends law." The mark of your ordination will always remain upon you. And some day TC will also carry that mark or the "church" will die.

Anonymous Jun 1, 2017 3:30pm

Phil, you are a brave soul and an inspiration. Thank you for your "stand-up" position and your light shining on the GLBTQ+ issue in the UMC.
Joan Countryman

Anonymous Jun 1, 2017 4:51pm

I am saddened that the chief focus of the UMC has become sexual practice not Grace or missions or faith or even Christ which were once the hallmarks of a great tradition within Protestantism. At a time when the creation, the church, the faith and life itself is under threat, how sad that who we love defines our "Christian" walk and talk.

Anonymous Jun 1, 2017 5:18pm

The Book of Discipline is very clear on who can or cannot be ordained. You can agree or disagree all you want with it but the fact is that the rules are what they are. When you try to or succeed in breaking the rules, you are breaking a covenant that you have made with God upon entering the ministry. Full stop. There is nothing else to discuss. You don't get to get a job at, say, a law firm and sign a contract and then decide that you won't follow their drug policy because you're against it. You sign a contract, you follow the rules. If you don't like the rules, you either don't sign or you leave. All the discussion about 'is it right' or whatever else is irrelevant until the discussion is brought up at Conference. Until then, accept that the rules are what they are.

Apriluser Jun 1, 2017 7:20pm

Scripture and the BOD are very clear. If you say you have no sin, then the truth is not in you. What's so difficult to understand?

Anonymous 2 Jun 1, 2017 7:22pm

Not only is it very clear in the Book of Discipline, but more importantly in scripture upon which the Book of Discipline is based. These are not random rules. Jesus gave us these rules in scripture quite clearly and plainly. He also made it clear that we are to love one another even when we do not agree with each other.

Carla Jun 1, 2017 7:44pm

Pastor Phil, I admire you and your stance. Our church once discriminated against our African American sisters and brothers and finally, long after segregation ended, recanted their unchristian stance. Thus, someday, not in my lifetime, as I am over 80, it will recant on their discriminating against our LBGTQAI sisters and brothers.
As a friend of long ago once sang to me to the tune of "Onward Christian Soldiers," the following:
Like a mighty tortoise moves the Church of God
Brothers we are treading where we've always trod
Some lack hope and some lack faith and
All lack charity.
Kudos to you Pastor Phil, and your brave stance.

Reese Jun 1, 2017 7:55pm

This is all cut and dry. There are rules we must follow and without them I am sure the church would be in chaos. If the rules are no longer valid, then we must strive to change them.

Susan Morrison Jun 1, 2017 7:56pm

As always, as your colleague in the conference and the larger church, I have always turned to you for the gentle yet firm voice of conscience and justice. You never fail to deliver. The call to ordained ministry doesn't need a is within you forever.

John Pena Auta Jun 1, 2017 8:03pm

Congratulation to Boltimore-Washington Conference. You have acted as United Methodist.If you don't want the rule of the game you better not joint.

Vernon Jun 1, 2017 8:47pm

I am retired, but when the Church accepts those whose conduct/lifestyle is clearly against scripture, I will turn in my credentials.

Donald E. Messer Jun 1, 2017 9:31pm

Dr. Phil Wogaman is one of the greatest leaders The United Methodist Church has ever had. A man of impeccable integrity and incredible intelligence, he has and always will represent the highest ethical standards. It is profoundly disturbing and sad to know of this action.

Kevin Has. Jun 1, 2017 9:35pm

I applaud the integrity of this conference to obey our voluntary chosen way of life together as expressed in the B.O.D. I applaud Phil for leaving. I applaud others who may choose for conscience sake. It is hard to do but it is obedient.

Kevin Jun 1, 2017 9:36pm

I applaud the integrity of this conference to obey our voluntary chosen way of life together as expressed in the B.O.D. I applaud Phil for leaving. I applaud others who may choose for conscience sake. It is hard to do but it is obedient.

Rebecca Lynn Jun 1, 2017 9:46pm

I admire the courage this mighty minister has to take a stand on his convictions. I agree with all who say "you know what the rules are, and we should follow them." I am a rule-follower. However it baffles my mind with the notion that this particular stance has not been changed just like other biblical issues that were once forbidden: biblical marriage - do you mean marriage between a man or a woman? Perhaps Levirate law where I should marry my husband's brother when my husband passes so that our first child could legally be my brother's? Or maybe the biblical marriage you believe in is polygamy - that's what OT people had to do to populate - let's have several wives and concubines? So, those are all definitions of biblical marriage - I am certainly not in agreement with most of them, nor is our country. How about interracial marriage? That was certainly not accepted in the OT either. Thank goodness we have come farther on that one. Wait, do we even need to discuss the biblical laws on slavery - yes it was accepted, too. I won't go on, and I certainly do not mean to disrespect anyone. I agree in christian conferencing as a means of grace. I just don't see homosexuality as any different than these other issues that had to do with the culture of the time and what was happening in the world THEN. Yes, Homosexuality is wrong when it comes to men raping young boys - that's wrong with anyone doing anything violent to another person. Jesus came to love all - all people - and the church seemed to be moving in the direction of that. However, we are stuck - stuck in a time of old where we are concentrating so much on the scriptural law, and less on the love of Jesus.
Yes, I knew when I took my vows the stance of the church. I promised also to love all people, and uphold leaders whom God gifted for ministry. I am a pastor, wife, mother of two beautiful children, and although I am "straight" (which is a term I never use, for I don't see the need to distinguish or categorize), I support my friends in ministry who love someone of their choosing, can be faithful to that one person, and still lead in Christ's love with integrity and grace. I also love all of my divorced friends, my friends who have lied, stolen, and have a pompous personality - yep, you guessed it. I can marry them and serve in ministry with them. If I am correct, those are also characteristics that are not biblically supported either. Whatever happens, our denomination is changing, as our worldview changes - if that means more love and less exclusivity, I believe we are following the ways of Jesus. With that said, I agree with all of those who disagree with my views. We have laws and should follow them, but before we just blankly say "Homosexuality is not biblical" I ask you to think about all of the other changes that have been made or interpreted in a way through the lens of Jesus. I know I will always be a minister- I don't know that I will, in the long haul, be able to stand against my biblical beliefs and continue to exclude others under the umbrella of a christian leader. It's a shame that the United Methodist Church has to focus so much energy on something mentioned so little in the Bible (7x?). I believe the sin of self-righteousness way outweighs that "sin" (53x?).

Love to all, even those brothers and sisters whom I can sit around a table and disagree with - what a gift...

Stephen Jackson Jun 1, 2017 9:47pm

It strikes me as very telling that the most bitter and legalistic comments are coming from those who cannot bring themselves to content openly under their real names. Why is it necessary to hide under cover of anonymity unless they know in their heart that the positions that state are earthly and not Christ-like?

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Milie Martin Jun 1, 2017 9:47pm

Dr Phil Wogaman, you continue to teach us . I was saddened and shocked by your decision, but realzed that I should not have been, when I remembered your class in Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary. You have spent
your life seeking to model the example of Jesus in real life and teaching us to do the same. May we continue to learn from your symbolic and sacrifical act. Thank you for speaking for us.

Chuck Jun 1, 2017 9:48pm

I am sure Dr. Wogaman had sincere intentions to do such a drastic act as surrendering his orders that he has held for most of his adult life. However, I think he did the right thing. If you cannot abide by the rules of our denomination--it is appropriate to leave and align yourself with a denomination that is accepting of your theological perspective. Disobeying the rules, order and discipline of our church is not a brave act--it is out of order and there should be consequences. Without order there is chaos--and chaos has no place in The United Methodist Church.

Rebecca Lynn Jun 1, 2017 9:54pm

Does it take a while for comments to get posted on this site? Are they reviewed first? Just curious. Not sure how this site works.

EOTorres June i, 2017 9:04 pm Jun 1, 2017 10:06pm

I believe in the Holy Bible. When the woman who was going to be stoned by several people, Jesus said, Those without sin throw the first stone. The men thought about it and
they didn't stone the woman. Then Jesus told the woman "go and sin no more". I guess people don't understand that if you sin you shouldn't sin the same sin again. If you
are in a marriage or relationship with a man with man, or woman with woman, you are sinning. Accept Jesus' words and don't sin again. People who are in this type of relationship and say that they believe in Jesus Christ don't understand what is in the Holy Bible. I guess they just want the cake and the icing, too. A commandment is a commandment. Don't you all get it? Dah!

Kat Jun 1, 2017 10:07pm

Comments are moderated, yes. We approve most everything that isn't abusive or vulgar.

Joanne Jun 2, 2017 12:03am

Many, many of those who have studied the
Biblical texts and who stay current on developments in biology, medicine, and psychology, find that the
Biblical texts invoked to prohibit ordination of gay persons have been taken out of their historical contexts and therefore have been misapplied. The church law is wrong, and it is death-dealing. For the life of me, I cannot understand why, of all the other
Biblical injunctions we have ignored in the past, or continue to ignore, so many have seized on these few and irrelevant passages as central to fitness for ordination. The tragedies resulting from this misappropriation of biblical texts continue to multiply.

Phil Gilbertson, Provost Emeritus, University of the Pacific Jun 2, 2017 1:13am

My friend Al Rieke here in Portland brought this news to my attention. Thank you, Phil, for taking civil disobedience to a new dimension. We hope your action will be a further catalyst to transform our church.

Ezra Abba Jun 2, 2017 2:31am

Can this be the fulfilment of prophecy on end-times? How can a church like the UMC with a very high record of evangelism and discipleship suddenly turned to be a place where homosexuality is debated? Are these group of LGBTQ been handed over to the reprobate mind Romans 1:28? Why are they perverting the love of Christ? Is the grace given to us a guarantee to sin Romans 6? Jesus will never be happy to find us in this situation when he returns now. We seem to have diverted from depart. Homosexuality is detestable and never to be mentioned in a church that profess Church. If Sodom and Gomorrah are not spared because of this then we need to be wise.

I appeal to all Methodists both laity and clergy to maintain our foundation and build aright as we await the return of our Lord and Saviour. Romans 1 is a caution to us.

UMC must live for God and this act must give way to the correct gospel of saving soul- let us remain true to our call by devising new ways of spreading the gospel not other irrelevant things.

God bless us all.

R KETCHUM Jun 2, 2017 2:56am

The Bible does not condemn homosexuality. It does condemn acts of cruelty to strangers, acts of sexual violence, acts of idolatry. Jesus did not call homosexuality a sin, and He did not exclude homosexuals from His ministry. In fact he never said anything about it at all. What Jesus DID call us to do is to love God and love one other. He called us to reach out and care for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the outcast...He calls us to share the Grace we have received from God with everyone, all nations, all people...and He didn't say you had to be a straight man to do that...
The Bible does not say anywhere that marriage and sexual love is exclusively for heterosexuals. It does have a strong message throughout of God's faithfulness and open-hearted love for all of us. Jesus calls us to go and do likewise.
The Book of Discipline of the UMC is not Holy Writ. It's a set of guidelines and rules voted on by members of our organization. So yes, it is subject to debate and discussion as new knowledge is discovered, including new knowledge and understanding of the Bible. It also contradicts itself: you can't believe all people have "sacred worth" while denying one group their basic identity. No, you can't "love the sinner and hate the sin:" because homosexuality is not a sin. If you try to judge people you don't understand in order to bolster your own self-righteousness and sense of identity you've committed idolatry, violence and inhospitality, and misunderstood Jesus' own teachings of love and grace. And that goes for both "sides."
My Dad was United Methodist Pastor, served God in the Church for 40 years, died at the age of 92, and firmly believed that God's message of love and grace was meant for ALL people, not just people like him. He lived out that faith, and he, like Dr. Wogeman, was willing to take risks, and sacrifice for what was right.
I'm a PK. I'm a Christian. I'm Lesbian. I'm a Methodist. I'm also a lot of other things. I think the Church needs leaders like Bishop Oliveto, TC Morrow, Dr. Wogemon, my Dad. Whether we all remain "United" Methodists remains to be seen.
God's grace and blessings to you all! Lord knows we all need it!

Brad Jun 2, 2017 10:02am

In all this the church of Jesus Christ is hurting. When church law is used to exclude others, those who are excluded are while while those who feel it is right rejoice. When it is the other way around, conservatives feel betrayed and hurt. As a denomination, my prayer is that we find ways to love and be loved and stay united in Jesus Christ. I hope the Commission on the Way Forward can be a means of handling this this very critical matter.

Deacon J Jun 2, 2017 10:38am

Bless you Rev. Wogeman! And thank you for your painful, yet faithful witness.

Lon B. Chesnutt Jun 2, 2017 11:13am

Phil Wogaman has identified with a specific person and a similar group of people when he turned in his ministerial credentials. Because of his reputation as a faithful pastor within the United Methodist Church and an instrumental leader of our seminary teaching community, he has moved the discussion from “Who has the most votes?” to “How does one remain faithful in the Christian community?”

United Methodists, along with most other denominations, has impaled itself on the practices of managing a large institution. While trying to remain loyal to a few principles stated in ultimate language—have compassion, forgive continuously, serve gratuitously, in effect ‘be loving’, it has encased these attitudes in the language of ‘you shall’, ‘you ought’, ‘you should’ rather than trust the living spirit to discern adequate responses to life situations.

Until we stop hand-picking phrases from the Bible that satisfy our personal preferences and approach scripture in the larger context of its historical setting and our contemporary pressures, we will not be able to build the type of living community that embodies Jesus’ vision. Wogaman has given us the opportunity to face again the most basic issue of the Church in our time, “How do we remain faithful?” Thank you, Phil
Rev. Lon B Chesnutt

Susan March Jun 2, 2017 11:27am

I weep for the state of God's Church... including the United Methodist denomination. I try daily to be a follower of Jesus's teachings. He gave us a 'new commandment'... love one another, love your 'neighbor' as yourself. We, as a human race, are NOT as we have once been as time changes us and our world. When life ends, as it will for all of us, wouldn't we rather die loving and accepting our 'neighbor' as Jesus taught? God is Love. What a witness these 'change agents' are in their actions and testimony.

marber Jun 2, 2017 1:14pm

Thank goodness someone used some common sense and learned how to followed the Bible and our BOD. She and her like should never even be considered. The Bible says a man shall not lie with a man nor a woman with a woman. Sounds like they are saying homosexuality is not to be allowed.

Bob Preston Jun 2, 2017 1:46pm

This transcends UMC law. This is biblical law and not mans choice to override it

Esther Jun 2, 2017 1:55pm

I guess people just don't want to know the truth and the truth is that Jesus loves the sinner but not the sin. If you accept Jesus as you Savior, you need to have a change of
heart and mind and stop doing things that are wrong. No matter how people want to say they are Christian and still gay they just don't to accept the true meaning of Christ's
ministry. Sure Jesus loves us but and He wants to to love each other. Remember that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with a power so strong that it was like an atomic
bomb had had these cities. Pray to Jesus to stop these way of life and repent. The homosexuals that were in these cities wanted to get the angels that God sent. If there were
enough people to save the cities God wouldn't have destroyed these cities but they didn't want to repent. Look at the Holy Bible more closely.

Earla Woodworth Jun 2, 2017 3:40pm

How sad that the Methodst Church is spending so much time and energy on this topic!! Can't we all just love one another as Jesus taught us to do??

Bob Brooke Jun 2, 2017 5:25pm

The present crisis in the UMC is the result of the influx into the denomination of cultural relativism and theological pluralism. The extended limits of mutual appreciation and tolerance that served the denomination well in the past are now being tested. Cultural relativism and theological pluralism has crumbled the biblical foundations of the denomination. Many have stopped believing that Jesus is the only way to the Father. The authority of Scripture has been diminished in favor of personal experience. Many more have decimated the denomination's doctrine of sin and neglected what salvation means in the Wesleyan tradition. The denomination has turned away from Jesus to worship its institution, which has a system without the means of holding those who lead or serve in it accountable.

The retired minister, who gave up his credentials here is, an example of the irreparable division that exists in the denomination today. For him, and for many, there is no way forward as a united denomination. At the very least, it will look very different in the next three years or so. Change is coming! Many choices will be made as to what kind of change. This is not just about right beliefs, it's about right actions. If the denomination makes to whole balance of its decision on the issue of human sexuality, it's entirely possible that votes in General Conference can be won without fixing what now has the denomination sick unto death. What it needs, more than anything, is a deep movement of the Holy Spirit and a theological renewal. No less than a reformation of the UMC denomination is needed to give us, who are not giving up, confidence and hope for the future.

Lynda Jun 2, 2017 8:12pm

Jesus never said it was a sin.....Jesus didn't have to. If you go through and look at all of the people Jesus spoke to, they were all Jewish except a very few. The Jews knew the laws inside out and upside down. They had to because there were serious consequences including being put to death by stoning if caught in adultry. There was no need to address them all again. He only used some of them here and there as examples. Yes, we are to love our neighbor and not snub them. If you love your children, you warn them not to steal, not to lie etc. You wouldn't pretend that the Bible doesn't say "Do not steal" would you? God made the standards, Jesus kept them perfectly, the Holy Spirit warns us when were tempted unless we've learned to tune him out,
they show mercy to us when we fall into sin, but they do not condone the sin.

Chuck Smith Jun 3, 2017 8:01am

I read the bible. I study the bible. What I get out of it is that if God said it was right, then it was right. If God said that it was wrong, then it was wrong. He clearly said homosexuality was wrong. He has not changed that to say otherwise, no matter what a minority want to believe. I am 34 by the way. There are a few of us, no matter what the culture says, that still stand for God's truth.
As for the definition of marriage, go back to the garden of Eden. One man and one woman... not two men or two women, not one woman with multiple men, not one man with multiple women. Yes, all of this has happened over the centuries, even in bible times. What we need to differentiate is what God said and what man said.
The bible is a record of a people and how God dealt with them. It is a record that tells of the peoples' good side and bad side. It is also a record that tells of what God actually said to man. Some of what God said is directly quoted, other things he said are told us by the man or woman that was speaking or writing.
The way that I see it, we have two choices. 1. except the bible as is and live by what it says. 2. Reject the bible and go our own way. It looks to me like those who are supporting what is clearly prohibited in both testaments have made the second choice. In my mind, they have rejected God the father, God the son, and God the holy spirit. They are no longer Christian. They have rejected the bible and the authority of the bible as a basis for living their lives. I pray that when they leave the church they don't take to many people with them as Satan did with the angels. To quote the psalms, "if the foundations be distroied what can the richious do?" The bible is the foundation that the church is built on. It looks like to me that there are people who are trying to destroy our foundation in the name of being politically correct. In that case, what happens when the politics change? Do we have a different set of morrals? If a minority or even a majority of people in the church wanted to legalize incest in the church, would we all jump aboard the band wagon to do it? The bible says it is wrong. Yet it also says homosexual practice no matter in what form is wrong and we have people in the church trying to say that God didn't know what he was talking about in this case... or changed his mind without putting it in the bible... If we take away one foundation stone then the rest of the foundation will eventually fall either by people taking each stone away or a force knocking it down. I pray that this stone is mortored back into place instead of being completely removed. However, this is a prayer that I don't see being answered without a direct move of God. This church needs a revival to get us back to the bible. The way things are going, I see it being destroyed from within before it gets one. What we need are pastors who will teach from the first verse of Genesis to the last verse of revelation without omitting any verse and tackling every hard question that comes up with more than "just believe it and take it on faith." Only then can we as a church get back on Gods' track. If we have pastors that will teach all of the bible, then we will not have people leaving the church because they can't find the answers they so desperately need. We will not have this question of what is right and what is wrong comeing up all the time. Those in the church, thanks to what the pastor as well as what the bible is teaching them, will know the right way. Those who will follow this course will be mature Christians by the end of the journey.

Manfred Marquardt Jun 3, 2017 10:22am

Thank you, Phil, brother an colleague, for your action of faithfulness, solidarity and courage, and for the statement which invites others inside and outside the circle not to leave. I vividly remember our minority report at General Conference 1992 asking for a change in language and attitude. When will the day come at last when we as an international UMC will open our hearts and minds and doors as Christ Jesus has done and taught? We continue to listen and to follow his way.

Don Burkhart, retired U.M. Pastor Jun 3, 2017 10:32pm

Jesus does address the sins of our day and the judgment we bring upon ourselves when we fail to repent and turn from our sin. He sees the Gay Rights parades in Portland with their naked displays and open promotion of sin. God sees the Gay Pride parades in the Tower District of Fresno, where chain link fences have to be erected around the businesses to protect their property. He sees the distracting, out of order demonstrations on our U.M. Conference floors to denounce the parts of the Bible and of the BOD that they don't like in ways that do not show love.
Speaking of the cities of His day who did not repent, in Matt. 11:20-24 Jesus says, "Woe to you Korazin and Bethsaida ! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes....And you Capernaum...If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day." Is Jesus perhaps saying the same thing to Portland, Fresno and your city today? And to those law-breaking, Bible forsaking Conferences and coalitions of the Methodist, Episcopal, United Church of Christ and Presbyterian denominations who clip out and throw away the parts of God's Word they don't like? It was Jesus who told the woman caught in sexual sin by the religious leaders (John 8:3-11) "Go and sin no more." And to His followers He said in Matt. 22:37-39, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Chuck Smith Jun 4, 2017 10:53am

If the umc accepts the unbiblical doctrine of allowing lbgtq people that have not repented of that sin into posissions within the church, I, for one, will leave. I will find a church in some other denomination that still believes that the bible is the word of God and still lives by it.
If the umc does do this, it will have proven itself not to be biblical. It would be saying that it is so caught up in what is culturally and politicaly correct that it no longer cares about what God says. I see this already. Just look at the umc news letter. Most of the stories are about race, politics, social issues, or cultural issues. Where is the newsletter that is about how the church deals with biblical issues? Except when the newsletter discusses an issue like this, the issues usually contain something about climate change, race relations, or political agendas.
As I said, I will leave the umc if it takes the course that it seems to be taking wich is contrary to the will of God. I personally go to a united Methodist church. I have not joined and will not join because of issues like this. Having said that, I will not go to a church that belongs to a denomination that clearly opposes what the bible says. The umc is well on the way to walking that path.

Steve Larsen Jun 4, 2017 6:51pm

On numerous occasions across several decades, Dr Wogaman has stood at a microphone on the conference floor to speak a word of clarity and wisdom to the body. He has stood at the lectern or at the end of a desk in classrooms helping students learn to bring their theological perspectives to bear on challenging issues that have no simple answers. He has stood in the pulpit to guide a people to live out their faith with courage and passion. Once more he shows himself to be a friend, a teacher and a person of faith. Whether you agree with him or not, he has engaged us all and called us to bring our best resources to the matters we face as faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

And by the way, when persons are ordained, they are asked if they know the church discipline and polity and will agree to abide by it. But part of our understanding as United Methodists is that our discipline is never a closed and settled matter. It needs to be reviewed, considered and appropriated every four years. When clergy are ordained, they do not make a vow to blindly accept the polity of the church. They are answering a call from God, confirmed by the church, and lived out in the context of ministry. Clergy are ordained to serve God in Jesus Christ, not to serve the human rules known at The Book of Discipline. The discipline is only worthwhile if it serves the purpose and mission of the church to make disciplines for the transformation of the world. When the rules are used in ways that undermine the church's mission and values, the rules need to be revisited or revised.

Randy Jun 5, 2017 4:51pm

I pray about the anger dividing the church - for prophets and false prophets alike.
I hope Dr. Wogaman has the integrity, upon renouncing his credentials, to likewise renounce his pension and any more speaking engagements within the denomination. I thinking quitting the team over one issue means quitting the whole team; a separation. I don't remember any of the biblical prophets speaking up for God from the safety of retired status.

Bill Jun 5, 2017 11:26pm

Of faith, hope and love .... the greatest of the three is?

Rev. Doug Burns Jun 6, 2017 8:18am

I wonder why post was not added - there was nothing offensive about it?? Administrators?? I simply shared my own brokeness and how Paul to a letter to Corinth, put my sins and the sin of homosexual practice in past tense. I would appreciate my post being put up.

Wayne Upton Jun 6, 2017 12:59pm

I applaud Phil for his action. I feel the church has wrongfully prohibited a segment of the community of God from using her gifts for ministry. I cannot reconcile the action in the West for electing a Lesbian to the Episcopal office while, at the same time, our local Board of Ministry refuses to ordain one who might possibly bring the church into the 21st Century and realize we are all "Children of God", and therefore should be allowed to fully use the gifts God has given us.

Bob Jun 6, 2017 8:37pm

Tommy Zaner was a friend of mine when we were young. But everyday he would come home from Catholic School with a swollen and sometimes bloody left hand. For years, Christians (both Catholic and otherwise) understood that the left hand was the "devil's hand." They found their foundation for their beliefs in the repeated denunciation of left handedness in Scripture and church history. With a belief that such people were doomed for damnation, is it any wonder that so many throughout the centuries have tried to beat it out the poor lefties. If being left handed goes against Scripture, why are there so many lefties who claim a saving faith in Jesus Christ? Don't they know they are going against biblical doctrine? Or have we come at last to the knowledge that being left handed is simply the way some people are wired?

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all choose which portions of Scripture we believe. And, unless we're willing to damn all the lefties to hell, we have to admit that sometimes Scripture is wrong. Sometimes the Church has it wrong. The time has come for us to stop beating the gay out of people. It doesn't work. It is the way some people are wired. Wouldn't we be a far better church if we found a way to love all God's children, even those who might not be wired the way we like?

Mary McCurty Jun 7, 2017 11:15pm

I honor the God in you. I feel like a hypocrite because I believe the church is wrong to practice conditional love and judgmental inclusion. I continue to pray for the Christ like courage you have to act on my beliefs, and I pray that God will heal your "broken heart."

Ken Jun 8, 2017 9:36pm

God is the ultimate Judge in this matter whether we choose to obey his word or not. This issue can not be settled when there are diametrical opposing views in the human realm. Every issue can not be resolved so easily. Let those who wish to leave the Methodist Church do so on either side. When some African Americans and I am one were cast out of white congregations they formed their own denomination. There are no denominations in heaven anyway. No disrespect to the new Bishop but clearly we are not one on this issue. We do need to pray for one another even in disagreement.

A Woman Jul 11, 2017 9:23am

And this can become another factor for us to consider as my husband and I, both 60+ years born and bred Methodists, ponder a move to the U.C.C. And to see so much hate in the comments, disguised as talk of sin.... I'm just so tired of fighting this battle against the judge mental faction of Methodism. God is Love. How hard is that to realize?

Karen Miller Jul 11, 2017 8:58pm

With a heavy heart I must say R. I. P. United Methodist Church.

Clarke & Ardis Chapman Oct 31, 2017 4:16pm

We just learned of your thoughtful and courageous action, affirming the "wideness of God's mercy" that bursts the boundaries of our finite minds. Thank you, Phil. It has been a privilege to have known you over many decades. Grace and peace!

Carla Nov 6, 2017 2:59pm

Karen Miller stated, "RIP UMC." If the UMC does split, which is really an unnecessary step, if those on the far right wing will compromise with a Big Tent Methodism, then within 20 years the far right wing, that jettisons off, will fade into oblivion. Younger people and older people with education, and love in their hearts, will not tolerate their family members or friends, who happen to be LBGTQ, facing discrimination.
Has the Methodist Church learned nothing from the "Central Jurisdiction" that they had for our African American pastors, up until the late 1960s, when that "Central Jurisdiction" was merged into the other jurisdiction, depending upon the location of the pastor's church?
"We who do not learn from history, sadly, are doomed to repeat it." That is a quote from George Santayana.