Just Policy for Local Church Employees
Whereas, ¶ 161G of The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church states: “We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children. All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence” (The 2016 Book of Discipline); and Whereas, ¶ 161G of The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church also states: “We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends.” (The 2016 Book of Discipline); and Whereas, ¶ 162J of The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church states: Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.... Moreover, we support efforts to stop violence and other forms of coercion against all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.” (The 2016 Book of Discipline); and Whereas, that same paragraph includes “equal protection before the law” amongst such basic rights and liberties; and Whereas, most United Methodist churches – regardless of their stand on The Book of Discipline and LGBTQ persons – frequently state that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons are welcome in their local church; and Whereas, some United Methodist Churches practice a policy that inquires about sexual orientation during the interview process and forbids the employment of called and qualified laity to non-appointed staff positions if they are lesbian or gay; and Whereas, laity employed by United Methodist Churches have been fired from their non-appointed staff positions based solely on their sexual orientation; and Whereas, such dismissal is in direct conflict with the aforementioned Social Principles of The United Methodist Church and causes significant harm; and Whereas, the Western North Carolina Conference wishes for each of our local churches a staff that possesses the gifts and graces for relative and effective ministry, and would not wish for either our churches or the neighbors we serve to be denied the most qualified person due to a practice that prevents employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity; therefore, be it Resolved, that the Western North Carolina Conference is committed to employment practices that are aligned with The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church. The Western North Carolina Conference encourages and supports local church policies in which laity called to serve are employed and dismissed based solely on their gifts and graces without regard for sexual orientation or gender identity.