Council of Bishops Executive Committee urges Talbert to refrain from same-sex wedding

cobtablert_550WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Executive Committee of the United Methodist Council of Bishops issued a statement today urging Bishop Melvin G. Talbert to refrain from conducting a same-sex wedding service this Saturday in Alabama.

Talbert, a retired bishop and one of the architects of the “Biblical Obedience” movement of the Reconciling Ministries Network (an advocacy group promoting full inclusion of GLBT persons in the United Methodist Church), has announced that he will officiate at the ceremony in metro Birmingham for Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince. While Alabama does not legally recognize same-sex marriage, the two men were legally married in Washington D.C. in September and are wanting a church ceremony with friends and family in their home state. Talbert announced several weeks ago that he would preside at that ceremony.

The Council of Bishops Executive Committee appealed to the teaching of the United Methodist Book of Discipline, which governs the practice of ministry for United Methodist clergy and  bishops.

“The bishops of the church are bound together in a covenant and all ordained elders are committed to uphold the Book of Discipline,” the committee wrote. “‘Conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies’ are chargeable offenses in the United Methodist Church. (¶2702.1.b)”

The Executive Committee affirmed North Alabama Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett’s request to Talbert that he not come to the Birmingham Area to conduct the service, while also acknowledging Talbert’s long history of leadership in the United Methodist Church.

“We have taken this action with deep respect for Bishop Talbert’s intention to serve as a pastor for United Methodists who experience themselves as excluded because of decisions of the General Conference”, the committee wrote.  “We also know that Bishop Wallace-Padgett is the caring shepherd of all people in the congregations in the North Alabama Conference. We are united in believing in the sacred worth of all people.”

The Executive Committee urged all United Methodists to be in prayer for one another and for the world as this situation progresses.

The members of the Council of Bishops Executive Committee are: Rosemarie Wenner, Warner H. Brown Jr., Robert E. Hayes, Jr., Peter Weaver, Mary Ann Swenson, Larry M. Goodpaster, Bruce Ough, Michael Lowry, L. Jonathan Holston, Marcus Matthews, Michael McKee, David Yemba, Sudarshana Devadhar, Deborah Kiesey, Janice Riggle Huie, and Paul Leeland.

Click here to read the entire statement.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and MethoBlog.com. Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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10 Comments on "Council of Bishops Executive Committee urges Talbert to refrain from same-sex wedding"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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[…] The Council of Bishops Executive Committee appealed to the teaching of the United Methodist Book of Discipline, which governs the practice of ministry for United Methodist clergy and bishops.    “The bishops of the church are bound together in a covenant and all ordained elders are committed to uphold the Book of Discipline,” the committee wrote. “‘Conducting ceremonieswhich celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies’ are chargeable offenses in the United Methodist Church. (¶2702.1.b)”  http://unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/10/23/council-bishops-executive-committee-urges-talbert-refr… […]

Allen Marshall
Guest

Strip his title as Bishop. Charge him in civil court as professing to represent the Methodist faith when in fact he has been removed from the Methodist Faith. This like the Pope condoning abortion and birth control.

Allen Marshall
Guest

The book of discipline clearly states the policy.

Jay
Guest

Bishop Talbert, as opposed to the pusillanimous members of the Council of Bishops Executive Committee, is a profile in Courage. May God be with him, and with the happy couple he is uniting in Christian marriage.

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[…] law. No less than the Executive Committee of the United Methodist Council of Bishops recently reaffirmed their commitment to the UMC Discipline’s that “[c]onducting ceremonies which celebrate […]

Mginia-Friend
Guest
Bishops – might I suggest actually including people who are LGBT in your conversations…and maybe really listening with your hearts to us? I was raised UM. I left this year because I will never realize my call – which BTW a Methodist dCOM affirmed, to be ordained as a UM clergy nor will I realize my dream to be married by one of my UM clergy friends in a UM church. Bishop Talbert is doing more for the good of the church and creating a space for marginalized people in a denomination that is running out life long members left… Read more »
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[…] Melvin G. Talbert will officiate this Saturday,  have released a statement in response to the  Council of Bishops Executive Committee statement issued earlier this morning. The Executive Committee statement urged Bishop Talbert to […]

Deen Thompson
Guest

Oh for an active Bishop like Bishop Melvin Wheatley, Jr. who in 1978 refused to sign his name while all the other bishops reaffirmed the 1976 BOD wording on homosexuality. Bishop Wheatley said, "Not only is it impossible for me to consent to add my name to any such public pronouncement as here proposed, but also it is imperative for me, out of my own sense of integrity, to insist that any such public pronouncement with which I could be accountable carry the unmistakable message that the vote that it was not unanimous."

Bryan
Guest

Mary Ann Swenson is not actively serving as a Bishop over any conference. She retired. Yet, she serves as an ecumenical liaison and serves on several committees.

Jay Voorhees, Exec.
Guest

Thanks for the correction. We have updated the story to reflect this fact.

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