Greenville, NC – In a historic vote for the NC Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, the closed Executive Clergy Session approved eight candidates for ordination, including a first-ever candidate in a same-gender civil marriage. Of these candidates, two are deacons, six are elders, five are female, and three are male. The average age is 38.
The Rev. Dr. Sangwoo Kim, chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, said, “The Board of Ordained Ministry is responsible for guiding, preparing, evaluating, and presenting gifted, Spirit-filled candidates for licensed, commissioned, and ordained ministry. The Board took this charge seriously as it faithfully followed its deep discernment process, interviewing candidates, reading their written work, and engaging in conversations with the candidates’ local church community. The Board found these candidates highly qualified for full connection and ordination as clergy in the NC Annual Conference.”
Following the Clergy Session, Bishop Connie Mitchell Shelton shared, “The beauty and complexity of our denomination’s checks and balances make The United Methodist Church incredibly unique and strong if we understand who we are.”
During their process, the paragraphs from the denomination’s law and policy book, The Book of Discipline, related to same-gender relationships were orally read to the Board of Ordained Ministry and Executive Clergy Session. The Board of Ordained Ministry must approve by a 3/4 majority vote to recommend a candidate to the Executive Clergy Session. The Clergy Session must achieve the same 3/4 majority vote to approve someone for full connection and ordination but cannot engage in judicial processes.
Shelton continued, “I recently met this amazing class of ordinands to hear their call stories and reflect on the historic questions. John Wesley developed nineteen questions to probe the hearts and motives of potential Methodist preachers to agree on how we will live into this ministry life. Wesley was looking for fruitful, unshakeable followers of Jesus willing to give their all to this Methodist way. We, too, are looking for the same here in the NC Annual Conference.”
Below are some questions and responses that we hope will be helpful to you.
About the North Carolina Conference
The North Carolina Conference is one of 54 conferences of The United Methodist Church in the United States. It encompasses 56 counties in eastern North Carolina, from Elon to the coast and from the South Carolina border to the Virginia border. The conference strives to create healthy congregations and effective leaders in every place, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Learn more about the NC Conference at nccumc.org/about.
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Questions and Responses
How exactly does someone become ordained?
After a candidate is recommended by their local church, approved by their Charge Conference, completes educational requirements, and is approved by a District Committee on Ordained Ministry, the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry evaluates written work, consults with candidates’ local church, and conducts interviews. If the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry approves a candidate by a 3/4 majority vote, the Board recommends candidates to the Executive Clergy Session. The Clergy Session is the only body in The United Methodist Church that can elect and approve candidates for ordination.
I was told the NC Conference wouldn’t ordain LGBTQIA+ persons until after General Conference met. Why did this happen now?
The conference comprises many boards, committees, and teams with different discernment roles in our processes. The Board of Ordained Ministry credentials clergy. The Executive Clergy Session receives recommendations from the Board and discerns who will be elected to full membership and approved for ordination. The bishop ordains those elected and approved for ordination by the Clergy Executive Session.