March 16, 2017 | NEW YORK (UMNS)
An oral hearing on a petition questioning whether a gay pastor can serve as a bishop in The United Methodist Church will open the spring meeting of Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court.
The hearing — set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, at the Hilton Hotel at the Newark Penn Station in Newark, New Jersey — is the only portion of the council’s April 25-28 meeting that is open to the public.
The petitioner and respondent in the case will have 60 minutes each to present their oral arguments. In addition, members of Judicial Council will have two 15-minute sessions to ask questions of the petitioner and respondent, with a 15-minute break in between the two presentations.
Any decision on that petition could affect Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, who was elected in July by the U.S. church’s Western Jurisdiction. She currently serves as bishop of the Mountain Sky Area, which encompasses Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and a church in Idaho.
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