Lesbian Bishop Karen Oliveto was consecrated and ordained last summer.
Lesbian Bishop Karen Oliveto was consecrated and ordained last summer. (Photo by Patrick Scriven, Pacific-Northwest Conference)

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The Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church issued a plea for money, announcing the denomination lost members and funds after they consecrated a lesbian bishop. 

"We now invite you to stand with us supporting congregations and brother and sister pastors in need. We seek your prayers and your monetary gifts," Mountain Sky Area leaders write in a statement.

When Bishop Karen Oliveto was ordained and consecrated last summer, ripples tore through the denomination, ultimately hurting the Western Jurisdiction.

"As we crossed the threshold, there has been stress in some of our most theologically diverse congregations. Some have lost members. Others have had members withdraw their financial support," the statement says.

Despite the loss, the Western Sky Area refuses to remove support from Oliveto.

"We believe theological diversity is critical for the vitality of The United Methodist Church. We seek to help our churches as we live into this new future. All our churches throughout the Mountain Sky Area play a vital role in witnessing to the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their communities. We remain committed to all churches in our area," the statement continues. 

After Oliveto's selection, many devoted UMC congregants protested, "faithful" members were asked to renounce her.

"Therefore, we call upon the Council of Bishops to do one of the following: [1] To do all within its power to rectify this breach of our covenant by issuing a strong statement opposing Oliveto's election, and petitioning the Judicial Council to rule the election null and void. Or [2], expedite the appointment of the members to its "Special Commission," and to revise the commission's mandate as follows: the sole purpose of the special commission is to devise an equitable and structured plan of separation of The United Methodist Church and to present such a plan to a called General Conference to be held no later than Oct. 31, 2018," according to a statement from Good News Magazine. 

According to the UMC Book of Discipline, homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

"Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church," the church states.

Jessilyn Justice is the director of online news for Charisma. Born and raised in a pastor's family in Alabama, she attended Lee University and the Washington Journalism Center. She's passionate about sharing God's goodness through storytelling. Tell her what you think of this story on Twitter @jessilynjustice.

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