Washington D.C. area UMC asks bishops to dismiss complaints

By Michael Doan

dumc-bishopsletter2A Washington, D.C., United Methodist church that has supported gay and lesbian rights for 27 years urged the United Methodist Church Council of Bishops today to dismiss complaints against a retired bishop who performed a same-sex wedding in Alabama.

The congregation of Dumbarton United Methodist Church urged the denomination’s Council of Bishops to rescind charges against Retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, the highest ranking clergyperson alleged to have broken the church’s ban on such ceremonies. The denomination could hold a trial that could remove the bishop’s clergy credentials.

In expressing its opposition to such trials, the church council said that Dumbarton makes its sanctuary available for same-sex weddings and listed seven clergy members who have conducted such ceremonies.

“For too long, our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers have been marginalized and excluded from marriage rites, ordination, and ministry opportunities,” said the document approved by the council and signed by members of the congregation at the end of a worship service.

“Now is the time to stand with Bishop Talbert….and others… who have claimed Biblical and ecclesial authority to move our denomination forward in embracing the gospel call to full inclusion of all of God’s beloved children,” the letter said. The congregation is also backing other bishops who have been criticized for supporting clergy conducting same-gendered weddings and other clergy who have gone on trial.

The statement asked the bishops: “This is the moment to stand on the side of inclusion and justice for our LGBT brothers and sisters. Will you join us?”

In 1987, Dumbarton officially welcomed the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in its congregation. In February 2010, the church officially committed itself to support marriage equality, the first United Methodist congregation in Washington to do so.

Special Contributor to UMR

Special Contributor

This story was written by a special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter. You may send your article submissions to


  1. Gary Bebop says:

    This is a news story? No, this is a shameless promotion. Do you not recognize it? There are MANY faithful United Methodist Churches and pastors who support the complaint process as the compassionate means, approved by the General Conference on behalf of the whole church, to address Disciplinary disobedience.

  2. Wes Andrews says:

    Correct this is shameless. The Bishops should answer honestly, simply and without any confusion as to how they stand…………. unfortunately that is not in the DNA of most of our Bishops.

  3. So Rev Talbert is “alleged” to have broken the church’s ban on such ceremonies. Alleged? Seriously? He either performed the “marriage” (and thus violated the BOD) or didn’t (no violation). That’s like being “a little bit pregnant.”

    Many can come on this site and quote scriptures for and against same sex marriage (and some do a thoughtful job) but the real bottom line is this – are those clergy guilty of performing this type of ceremony.

    We can debate the issue from now until the next General Conference. Why should trials take so long? And don’t hide behind the “due process” rock. The UMC is bleeding from 1000 stabbings from an ice pick – not a knife. Maybe thats what the pro gay marriage folks want – to overwhelm our legal system with an unprecedented legal attack (by volume) to choke ourselves to death. These folks want to kill the UMC not create dialog or change.

    It’s so simple even a Bishop can understand it – or am I asking for too much?

    • “choking the system” is one of the very favorite tools/ploys of liberal/progressives. they experience amazing results by doing it–whether in the church or in the government. the best way to struggle back is to use their very same game plan………………………..

  4. Are complaints underway for the seven listed? If Dumbarton is using its sanctuary for same-sex ceremonies, are complaints being filed? And what is it with Foundry and Dumbarton in DC?

    It’s way past time for General Conference to start specifically naming and expelling these churches, or at least giving them a specified time to get back in line or leave.

    If the UMC took a strong stand on Biblical authority and its own doctrine while boldly proclaiming the Gospel again, it would start recovering the thousands upon thousands it has lost to the non-denominational movement plus start bringing in new converts again.

    It’s all there on paper just waiting to be put back into action.

  5. Wes Andrews says:

    I suggest all seminary students who care about the authority of Scripture change their trajectory away from the UMC. John and Charles are rolling over in their graves.

  6. There is nothing to be alleged about the conduct of Bishop Talbert. He did in fact cross over the jurisdictional bounds of Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the North Alabama Conference. Despite stern warnings against entering her jurisdiction to perform the same sex marriage of two men, Bishop Talbert did in point of fact cross over the Bishops jurisdictional boundary in contradiction to the Book of Discipline and performed the ceremony with many other clergy present. Every one accepts the reality of what happened except those of Dumbarton and Foundry who would much prefer that reality be ignored and set aside for “noble reasons.”

    There is nothing to dispute here. Pictures were posted all over social media. In fact they took pride in, celebrated, rallied around, marshaled themselves together in a show of unity around the fact that Bishop Talbert did what he did in spite of the strongest possible admonition of the President of the Council of Bishops. There is nothing ‘alleged’. The facts are indisputable.

  7. Donnie says:

    I’m thankful I left the UMC last year. Sadly, I see the apostates winning this debate, not because they’re right or the majority (they’re neither), but because of creepy Alinsky-esque tactics like this. It’s time for Bible-believing Christians to leave the UMC and let it implode. Withholding tithes is no longer enough.

  8. I support the action of the Bishop and the local churches in question. We are not all of one accord on this issue, obviously, and those of us who believe in the dignity of all persons are not anti-Biblical radicals. I would maintain that the Bible does NOT address the issue of committed, loving and equal same-sex relationships. Others don’t have to agree, but name-calling and generalized attacks don’t advance our possible unity either. I sometimes regret that there hasn’t been more or better dialogue among us sisters and brothers; at other times I think there HAS been dialogue, and we dimply disagree. Is there a higher unity than can keep us together? My fear is that if we split on this issue, as the Methodist Church did over Bishops and slavery in the 1800’s, then we’ll re-unite some 80 years from now and wonder how we got so far apart.

    • The Bible is as clear on God’s plan for sexual relations among human beings as is the fact that gravity keeps us from flying off into space. God’s plan for sexual relations among people is that found in the marriage of one man to one woman, NO EXCEPTIONS. (Note: polygamy was not in God’s plan for marriage and human sexual relations; fallen man came up with that). Jesus affirmed that God’s plan as found in Matthew 19 with his affirmation of God’s created order for marriage. That’s it, and nothing more can be added or taken from that definition without challenging the authority and truth of Jesus Christ . All other definitions of marriage and/or sexual relationships among people are lies from Satan.

Speak Your Mind

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)


%d bloggers like this: