Michigan pastor camps out to protest trial delay

The Rev. Mike Tupper outside First UMC Marquette, MI

The Rev. Mike Tupper outside First UMC Marquette, MI

Marquette, MI — It’s cold in Michigan this time of year. But the snow has not deterred the Rev. Michael Tupper from pitching his tent in the front of the First United Methodist Church of Marquette to protest what he believes is an unreasonable delay by Marquette District Superintendent Rev. Elbert P. Dulworth in processing the paperwork that will ultimately lead to Tupper’s trial for officiating a same-sex marriage. Dulworth’s offices are located in that facility.

In a press release issued on November 30, Tupper wrote: “I have travelled 8 hours north to Marquette, Michigan to the office of Rev. Elbert Dulworth because he has not done the work assigned him by the Bishop and our Book of Discipline. Rev. Dulworth was selected to be the consul for the Church by Bishop Kiesey on October 15. I’ve waited over six weeks for him to do a simple task. I plan to stay here until he completes the paperwork and sends it off to the Committee on Investigation. The delay and silence lead to more injustice and harm.”

In a statement given to the United Methodist News Service, the Rev. Melanie Carey, clergy assistant to Bishop Debra Kiesey of the Michigan area said: “We are aware that Rev. Tupper is frustrated by the pace of due process. However, it is important that we allow the counsel for the church the necessary time to thoughtfully gather all pertinent information on this matter. The potential of a clergy trial is a serious situation, and that is why there is no time limit given to the counsel for gathering information.”

The delay in Tupper’s trial is not the only reason he is camping out in protest. “I’m sleeping outside because the United Methodist Church has not yet opened their doors to everyone,” Tupper said. “During this season we remember there was no room in the inn for Jesus. In our day, there’s no room in the UMC for LGBTQ persons. I will sleep outside every night in a tent until the 2016 General Conference finally ends the war and let’s everyone come inside our church.”

Dulworth was appointed by Bishop Kiesey to serve as the counsel for the church to investigate and prosecute Tupper’s failure to abide by church laws prohibiting United Methodist clergy from conducting same-sex weddings. Tupper is wanting to push ahead with the formal investigation ultimately leading to a trial before his peers. If convicted the trial court could offer any number of penalties and/or sanctions, up to removing Tupper’s clergy credentials.

The United Methodist General Conference, the United Methodist Church’s top legislative body, will meet in Portland, Oregon in May of 2016. Same sex-marriage and other GLBTQ issues will again be on the agenda of that gathering.

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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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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Wes Andrews
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Wes Andrews

Oh my. Protesting human trafficking, yes. Protesting the exploitation of women and children, yes. Protesting gang on gang violence which overwhelmingly destroys african/american individuals and families, yes. But this is the pathetic result of self-absorbed and self-focused western culture.

Paul W.
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Paul W.

He is definitely quite the martyr. Still getting his full salary, dressed warmly, and surrounded by nice camping/outdoor equipment. Still thumbing his nose at the connection hoping to create a media event/circus. Yep, brings a tear to your eye just thinking about how unfair the UMC is being to poor Mr. Tupper — what utter audacity to continue paying his salary while denying him the right to redefine sin to meet his own personal opinions!

Richard Hicks
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Richard Hicks

J Wesley sat a horse. This guy just sits, pouting. I wonder who is/was the more effective? Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC

Kevin
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Kevin

Here is a story that screams out for sarcastic snarky comments. I will resist. The wheels of justice turn at their own speed and cannot be rushed. I hope someone brings him a hot chocolate once in a while.

George Nixon Shuler
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George Nixon Shuler

The gnashing of teeth of religious right partisans being duly noted, it appears the brother’s effectiveness at generating publicity about the unconscionable stand of the UMC in favor of an ignorance-based position on the capacities of persons to love, is revealed. The antiwar protestor Jerry Rubin once remarked “the United States will leave Vietnam when the embarrassment of staying there will exceed the embarrassment of leaving.” So it is with the UMC and its evil policies in these matters. Eventually the tipping point as Rubin described will be reached. Tupper’s actions serve to hasten the fall of that house of… Read more »

George Nixon Shuler
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George Nixon Shuler

If that’s what you think I am, you might want to consider signing up for GED classes because it shows your poor reading comprehension. I’ve never been the one “dividing” people. That’s the religious right’s game. I just call a spade a spade. Some people would for instance say somebody like me would be unsafe in places like the U>P. – or they’d tell l’ Tupper there “Get out of there…it’s not safe.” I know better and so does he. I’m not amused by your bullying here. I feel sorry for you in your need to lash out at your… Read more »

Kevin
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Kevin

Russ
When I order chicken from Popeyes I throw out the left wings because I don’t trust them. I have to wear special gloves because my knuckles drag on the ground. Mark Levin is one of my favorite talk radio personalities. I think I might be displaying subtle signs of being a right winger. Oh well. Put me on the right side of the divide.
BTW Mr. Tupper should consider auditioning for the next season of Fargo. He has the look down perfectly.

Ted
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Ted

This isn’t about people, it’s about SINS against GOD! You are the one making it personal. Shame on you for being a Hypocrite. Straiten out your act for Christ sake.

Ted
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Ted

He’s no Yooper. He’s from Kalamazoo. Yoopers want this fool tool gone as he’s a joke and a complete embarrassment to the Church. Just a selfish hypocrite sinner is all we have here.

The Church said they are going to start hosing him and his gay station down with the hose if he’s still there tomorrow. I think a nice bucket of cold water would serve him some good.

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