United Church of Christ (UCC) general synod delegates have adopted a task force report recommending that candidates for the ministry not be refused ordination on the basis of their homosexual orientation.

“In considering a candidate’s qualifications for the ministry, the candidate’s heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual orientation, in and of itself, should not be grounds for denying the request for ordination,” the report states. It concludes “that a person’s sexual orientation is not a moral issue, but that sexual behavior does have moral significance.”

The report also asks the UCC national staff to “facilitate ministry to gay people, whether they choose to affirm their sexual feelings or attempt to change them.…”

The recommendations are not binding on the denomination’s 6,443 churches. Area associations of churches in the 1.75-million-member denomination have the sole power to ordain ministers.

UCC delegates also elected the Reverend Carol Joyce Brun as the denomination’s secretary, the church’s second-highest elective office. Brun is the first woman to be elected as a top officer in the UCC.

In other action, UCC delegates endorsed a mutual United States-Soviet Union nuclear weapons freeze; called on Congress to stop all funding for the MX missile and other first-strike nuclear weapons; and called on churches to push for programs to help victims of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The disease affects practicing homosexuals, Haitians, and users of intravenous medications.

In other denominational meetings held this summer;

• Delegates to the Church of the Brethren annual conference adopted a position paper on human sexuality that supports “the teaching that sexual intercourse … belongs within heterosexual marriage.” ...

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