A new dispute has arisen concerning homosexual students at United Methodist seminaries - this time at Hiff School of Theology here.
Dr. Jameson Jones, president of the United Methodist Institution, has refused to admit Lucius Allen Grooms of Washington, D.C., a candidate for ministry in the Metropolitan Community Church.
Noting that the MCC specializes in ministries to and with gay people, Jones based its action on a section of the United Methodist book on discipline that prohibits the denomination's general council on finance and administration from using funds "to promote the acceptance of homosexuality."
He expressed the belief that admitting a student who wanted to be ordained in a "gay denomination" might lead to a loss of denominational funding for Hiff.
Last May the United Methodist-related Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary near Chicago refused to "advance," or readmit two first-year students who were avowed homosexuals. The key factor in that decision was the United Methodist Church's stance against avowed homosexuals.
Dr. F. Thomas Trotter, general secretary of the denomination's board of higher education and ministry, stressed that each seminary is responsible for determining its own admission standards. He declared that "it would be mischievous to amend the formula for ministerial education fund distribution by imposing any restrictions that bind the freedom of the faculties of the theological schools to determine their own standards for admission and curriculum."