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The Columbia Union Conference has gathered a variety of resources on its website to educate its constituency in anticipation for its Special Constituency Meeting set for July 29 to authorize ordinations without regard to gender. The materials include a special edition of Visitor, the conference magazine, as well as historical documents, articles, and presentations from the 2012 NAD Women's Clergy Conference.
Especially noteworthy among the materials is a response to the General Conference Official Statement by New Jersey Conference Executive Secretary James A. Greene. (The GC Statement was previously covered by Spectrum here.) The letter, dated July 24th, states in part:
"I have read and re-read your letter several times, and while 1 personally resonate with your appeal for unity, my conscience is struggling with how to react to your appeal for absolute uniformity in how the Columbia Union relates to General Conference Policy on this issue. After much prayer and thought, I feel that I must share with you and the other World Leaders why I must at this time vote against this recommendation of the General Conference in Session while also voting in favor of the General Conference in Session actions concerning the doctrines of the Church."
Citing Fundamental Belief #14, Elder Greene argues that the GC Statement asks the CUC Special Constituency Meeting to vote contrary to Church Doctrine and that the failure of church leadership to be in sync with Church Doctrine on this matter is itself promoting "disunity, dissension, and diversion from the Mission of the Church," which is the concern of the original GC Appeal statement. Greene writes, "Today, members, especially the younger generations in North America and other Divisions, see the leaders of our Church at all levels, from the local congregation to the GC, providing leadership that does not sync with what they believe the Bible and our official Doctrines teach in the matter of human relations and discrimination."
Editor's Note: This article has been edited to correctly show James Greene's position as executive secretary of the New Jersey Conference--not the Columbia Union.
Image: Wall and Piece, Bansky, 2005.