Mary Ann Barclay not recommended for commissioning

mary-ann-barclay_550Editor’s Note: Our original report said that the Austin District Committee on Ordained Ministry had been reorganized in response to complaints made against members of that committee based on reports from persons in the area. We have been contacted by committee members who have stated that no such reorganization has occurred. Thus, we are removing that portion from our story. 

Mary Ann Kaiser Barclay, the woman in the Southwest Texas Annual Conference (SWTAC) whose candidacy was challenged last year because of her sexual orientation (ultimately leading to two separate Judicial Council actions) was not “moved forward” in her ordination process by the SWTAC Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM). By not being continued in the process, Barclay was referred to the Austin District Committee on Ordained Ministry (DCOM) for further examination.

In a statement posted at www.RMNBlog.org (run by the Reconciling Ministries Network) Barclay said that the reason given by the board was “..they felt I failed to articulate my understanding of the “Lordship of Christ for the world,” the particular role of ordination, and a failure to communicate my ‘internal call.'” Although Barclay’s self-proclaimed lesbian orientation was mentioned as a reason for rejection last year by the BOM (a decision that would be reversed by the Judicial Council based on concerns about process), Barclay stated that she was never asked about her orientation in her interview with the BOM earlier today. “I can’t help but wonder how their perception of my sexuality influenced their thinking,” Barclay wrote.

“Today I hoped in my Board of Ordained Ministry, and in my church, by trusting in them enough to share the call God has placed on my life,” Barclay wrote. “Their vote not to recommend me for ministry today makes me sad, hurt, and angry. I am sad because my journey is stalled and because my denomination is not its true self today. I am hurt by the prejudice we have deemed polity. And I am angry because I know the sadness and hurt I carry is a familiar feeling for so many other LGBTQ folks in The UMC who dare to keep dreaming. I join other rejected candidates, the ones who feel no choice but to leave, the clergy forced to live in the closet, the members who struggle with their place in their own denomination, and the queer clergy who have faced trials or have been defrocked solely because of who they are. I am angry that we continue to grow in number.”

According to the process outlined in the UM Book of Discipline, Barclay will have to meet again with the Austin District Committee on Ministry, which originally certified her as a candidate for ministry.

“Today is painful but it is not the end. I still dare to hope,” Barclay wrote. “As we continue to journey together on our church’s path to its true self by condemning its injustices, grieving the harm it causes, and following the guidance of the Spirit wherever she leads, we are living out the witness of our faith. This is our Christian task. This is our hope.”

Click here to read the full statement by Mary Ann Barclay.

UMReporter Staff

This story was posted by a staff member of The United Methodist Reporter. For over 160 years The United Methodist Reporter has been helping the people called Methodist to tell their stories. If you have stories that you think need to be told, please let us know at editor@circuitwritermedia.com

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15 Comments on "Mary Ann Barclay not recommended for commissioning"

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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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Jamie Hamrick
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This article is PC and a big reason we will fall. We are not about making disciples–we are about agendas now! I wish there was as much passage denomination wide about Christ as there is this topic.

MethodistPie
Guest

Asking a Progressive about the “Lordship” of Jesus Christ is almost a trick question. According to the Progressive dictionary, the term “Lord” is equated with oppression, right?

Kent Wilfong
Guest
The reality of the Ordination process is that most people do not make it through the first time. It is a time of deep and I mean DEEP reflection. Sometimes it means changing points of view or standing up to beliefs. The fact that this candidate did not move forward is nothing new, not everyone who seeks ordination is moved forward. I am sure Ms. Barclay is a nice person and has a heart for God, but that criteria alone does not make a minister and that is why we have the Ordination process. They are there to help us… Read more »
Kent Wilfong
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As one who has been through the process of ordination, and has been told “Not Yet” more than once, I fail to understand why this decision for this person is newsworthy. This person is one of many who have traversed this pathway. There are more heroic stories out there. Ordination is not a title that is flippantly given out. Ordination is a humbling call to servant hood. I would prefer you shared the stories of those who faced true hardship and sacrifice to become Ordained. This article is not news.

Larry
Guest

Why don’t we do an odd thing — and take this at face value? The BOM never asked her about her sexuality. Instead, according to Barclay, they listed three reasons for continuing her. Why then does she announce their decision is discriminatory? Any BOM (I served on our Conference’s BOM for 8 years) makes decisions like this all the time, on the basis of theology and call. There MAY BE “discrimination” underneath, but the story as reported gives no reason to think Barclay was treated unfairly.

Wes Andrews
Guest

WAD, perhaps the 24 hour news, or web news sites should do big stories on all people who don’t win ordination, or get a job, or get promoted, or who don’t get a raise, for whatever reason. That would, at least, be consistent. Who knows perhaps this person (of sacred worth, as we all are) just wasn’t qualified, OR the BOM actually followed the BOD…..

Mark
Guest

A major question is whether any more UMC pastors are needed in the US. Look around…the UMC is losing members. Places like Africa are where more pastors are needed…you gonna send a flaming liberal to be a pastor in Nigeria? Good luck with that.

Ross Kuester
Guest

We need pastors in Indiana conference. Many clergy are retiring. The Alaska Bishop has called for clergy to come up to Alaska. There are plenty of churches there who need pastors. With an aging clergy population it would be nice for Africa to send some of their “flaming with the Spirit of God” evangelical pastors to come preach the Gospel to us heathens here in the states.

Arthur Collins
Guest
Years ago, I was at a mentor training session for clergy mentors. I asked a colleague if he thought we were really getting a better quality of candidates for all that we make people do. He said, “We make them do all this because we can’t bring ourselves to tell anybody No.” I’ve thought long and hard about that. We can’t look someone in the eye and say, “I love you, but I won’t ordain you.” Instead, we’ve created an impossible system to wash out people, defeat them. The flip side of that is, we get candidates who refuse to… Read more »
Ross Kuester
Guest

Are we able to make a distinction between those practicing sexual immorality (heterosexual and homosexual) and those who struggle with sexual immorality (heterosexual and homosexual)? Having an orientation whether homosexual or heterosexual cannot keep someone from fulfilling God’s call. Isn’t the real issue whether or not one is being sexually pure (celibacy in singleness and fidelity in marriage).

bill krill
Guest

And don’t forget all of those morally innocent UMC pastors who divorced their spouse for reasons other than the spouse’s infidelity, or those UMC pastors who have had affairs with congregation members, or those that look at porn, or those that withhold sex from their spouse when they are angry, or those UMC single pastors who are having sex outside of marriage, or are masturbating…oh yea, havig homosexual sex in a committed relationship is waaayyy worse a sin than any of those.

Wes Andrews
Guest
You are correct, bill. Our emotional and spiritual health matters. The list you offer is a sign of individuals being unhealthy spiritually, relationally, emotionally. The BOD doesn’t endorse those behaviors while not supporting homosexual behavior. While we were yet sinners, strugglers, sufferers, broken, confused, Christ died for us. Marriage and sexuality are beautiful gifts from God and yet, both can become twisted and used in exploitative ways. The list you mention is a reflection of this. It’s all destructive, and should not be overlooked. Yet, I have witnessed in my own annual conference the Bishops and D.S.s overlooking, and it… Read more »
Steven Vornov
Guest
You raise interesting questions. Shouldn’t we ask ourselves a serious question? Would a heterosexual male candidate candidate, who told the BoOM that he viewed porn, divorced for frivolous reasons, had affairs with church members, and masturbated, be deferred? My guess is yes. I might also suggest with respect that perhaps the BoOM was telling her the truth. I’ve heard of other people, faithful in marriage and celibate in singleness, who were deferred for just that reason. Many candidates fail to articulate clearly the Lordship of Christ for the world, the particular role of ordination, and a failure to communicate one’s… Read more »
Dan
Guest

I suspect that a heterosexual male candidate would never be asked about porn viewing, affairs etc. He might be asked about a divorce but nothing too probing.

John Thomas
Guest

and the BoOM couldn’t even admit the real reason why they failed to recommend Mary Ann for commissioning….

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