Bishop announces failure of Just Resolution process in Meyer case

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Bishop Scott Jones of the Great Plains Episcopal Area announced yesterday that he was referring the complaint made against the Rev. Cynthia Meyer regarding her relationship with another woman to the Rev. David Bell, who has been named as the counsel for the church in a process that may ultimately lead to another church trial.

 The bishop’s decision came after the parties involved in the supervisory response process – outlined by The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline – were not able to agree upon a just resolution. Bishop Jones has chosen to refer the complaint as the next step in the complaint process. From here Bell will review the evidence and based on his review may take the complaint to the Great Plain’s Conference’s Committee on Investigation, which will make the final determination if Meyer should be face trial.

These actions come after Meyer preached a sermon at the Edgerton United Methodist Church on January 3 in which she came out as being in a committed relationship with another woman which she characterized as a covenantal relationship. After receiving a copy of the sermon from Meyer, her district superintendent, the Rev. David Watson, filed a complaint against Meyer alleging that she is a self-avowed, practicing homosexual, something that is currently prohibited in the United Methodist Book of Discipline.

“While many persons within The United Methodist Church disagree with the rule that says persons who are self-avowed, practicing homosexuals may not be ordained and may not be appointed as pastors, the rule is currently in effect,” Bishop Jones said. “Rev. Meyer’s sermon prompted the supervisory response, the attempt to find an agreed-upon just resolution and this referral to Church counsel, as outlined in the Book of Discipline.”

In responding to Jones’ announcement, The Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) (who has worked with Meyer in the sharing of her story) suggested that Jones’ action is an attempt to delay any decision on Meyer’s future in the UMC until after the General Conference meets in Portland this May. “It should be noted that Rev. Meyer is serving in a Conference that has – by a 60-40 vote – requested that the General Conference allow LGBTQ individuals to serve openly as pastors, and her peers on the Executive Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM) rejected Bishop Jones’ initial request that Rev. Meyer be suspended. It would seem the will of the of the Great Plains Conference, the will of the Executive Committee of the BOM and the will of the Edgerton United Methodist Church is that she remain as pastor, but the institution remains opposed,” said a statement from RMN.

In the resolution agreement proposed by Jones, he offered two courses of action based on the actions of the General Conference. “If the General Conference acts to permit the appointment of self-avowed practicing homosexuals,” Jones wrote in his first option, ” then this complaint will be dismissed . . . and Rev. Meyer will continue as an elder under appointment.”

However Jones’ second proposal went beyond the surrender of Meyer’s credentials should the General Conference retain the current proscriptions against same-sex persons serving as pastors in the UMC. “If the General Conference retains the rules…” Jones suggested, “[I] will explain the process found in ¶2548.2 to a church conference of Edgerton United Methodist Church . . . to assess their interest in withdrawing from the UMC and retaining Rev. Meyer as their pastor in a new denomination.” It was this provision that led Meyer to reject the resolution proposal immediately.

“By every evaluation, Rev. Cynthia Meyer stands-out as a clergyperson of integrity, talent, and love—her leadership has been praised by colleagues and parishioners alike. That’s why it’s frankly stunning that Bishop Jones can’t imagine another way forward than for Rev. Meyer and her congregation to leave the UMC,” said RMN Executive Director Matt Berryman. “As faithful LGBTQ Methodists, what we hear from the bishop is ‘you and your kind are not welcome here.’”

Meyer is continuing to serve the Edgerton UMC throughout the process.

Jones requested prayers for both Meyer and the Great Plains Conference as they go through this process.

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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17 Comments on "Bishop announces failure of Just Resolution process in Meyer case"

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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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Kevin
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Say UMR, why not simply let the Reconciling Ministries write these articles for you? This can’t even be called reporting. Looks more like advocacy.

J.P
Guest

The Bible, God’s Word, is very clear concerning the practice of homosexuality. We will be watching the outcome of this prayerfully.

Mike Thomas
Guest

The Bible is not clear on this matter at all. The Old Testament authors (and Paul as well) believed it was an abomination because they saw it as a form of idolatry practiced by the pagan priests in the neighboring tribes as part of their fertility rituals.

Scott
Guest

If the General Conference votes to allow practicing homosexuals to serve as clergy, then the UMC will not stand united. I will not remain in a denomination that would so blatantly disregard scripture and church teachings for centuries. Thankfully, from what I understand,, the General Conference will not be able to change the Book of Discipline on this matter because international members of the UMC are significant enough in numbers to prevent it.

marber
Guest

Integrity?? I don’t think so. Don’t waste any more money and time on her. Take away her credentials, immediately!

Craig
Guest
I’m never quite sure where all the confusion in this issue lies. “Open hearts, open minds, open doors”….why not? We are ALL sinners and the church is certainly where sinners need to be. God loves and forgives us our sin. However, an openly practicing homosexual is STILL sinning and a pastor in a position of church leadership is simply stating that they put their needs or interpretation of scripture over the Word of God. God is unchanging and the Bible is quite clear that homosexuality is not acceptable. We would not accept a non-repentant continuing adulterer as a pastor…or a… Read more »
Al Trucano
Guest

I would urge our Bishop to follow the Discipline and not wait until General Conference to make his decision. To wait on this in tantamount to condoning the liberality that could cause a split in our Church. Either the Discipline is right, or it is wrong. There are no two ways of interpreting it.

jimmie shelby
Guest
In this writer’s mind, the saddest thing about the whole conversation is that those who have been voted into positions of high leadership choose not to take a firm stand, but, rather pass the proverbial “buck” so that they do not have to make the final call. The United Methodist Church is being lost because it is going down the very same slippery path that this country finds itself on. One day–someone–just like Josiah of the Old Testament–will stumble upon a “scroll” that will sadden that “someone” and prompt a Holy Spirit moment in that “someone’s” mind so that PERHAPS… Read more »
Jamie
Guest

Adulterous pastors are taken out. Don’t know why we try to compare apples and oranges. Just in my conference someone was taken out for adultery this year. Thanks Reconciling for writing the post! No agenda here–right UMR?

Richard F Hicks
Guest

Outlaws rarely turn themselves in for punishment. Pseudo-martyrs don’t pay the price but still want the hero worship. Real martyrs die for their cause. Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC

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