Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Update on recent Judicial Council Decision 1341


Dear Friends,

The Judicial Council in the United Methodist Church interprets specific questions related to particular situations.  During their April 25-28, 2017, meeting in New Jersey the Judicial Council ruled on several items, including a petition from the South Central Jurisdiction requesting a declaratory decision on the Western Jurisdiction’s episcopal election, consecration and assignment of Karen Oliveto.

The Judicial Council stated that “it is not lawful for the college of bishops of any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop.” The decision also described the fair process that our United Methodist Church Constitution provides for bishops under complaint and said that Oliveto remains in good standing until an administrative or judicial process is completed. It specified that the jurisdiction, president or secretary of the affected college of bishops must act to initiate a process of review of the bishop’s ministerial office. (

Like our culture, United Methodists are not of one mind about this decision. Also, we are in pain for those who are hurt by our church conflict.

During this time in our denomination, my prayer is that as North Alabama United Methodists, we will continue to be:

  • gracious in our conversations and actions;
  • respectful of perspectives different than our own;
  • patient as we await the recommendation(s) of the Commission on a Way Forward and the February 23-26, 2019, called special General Conference;
  • prayerful for our denomination as we seek to discern a way forward that honors God and each other.

In the midst of our current denominational climate, I urge all United Methodists to stay the course, confident that Jesus Christ is the head of the church. Keep focusing on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Remember that the God of Creation is with us . . . Jesus Christ our Savior redeems us . . . and the Holy Spirit is transforming us.

As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference

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