United Methodist pastor marries long-time partner in Ohio

Yesterday was a travel day for most of us at UMR as we made our way to Portland so we weren’t able to fully cover the latest action related to same-sex marriage and GLBT inclusion in the UMC — the wedding of the Rev. David Meredith to his long time partner Jim Schlachter yesterday at the Broad Street United Methodist Church in Columbus, OH. We’ve been keeping up with the story through others and wanted to share some highlights with you:

Buzz Feed: This Methodist Minister Just Broke Church Rules By Marrying His Husband

Dominic Holden, the GLBT reporter at Buzzfeed.com has broken the last couple of stories about same-sex wedding in the UMC. 

The timing was deliberate. With the church’s international voting body meeting Tuesday in Oregon, the high-profile marriage could persuade delegates at the General Conference to pass several proposals that would repeal the church’s anti-gay rules. Those rules ban clergy from being out homosexuals, prohibit clergy from marrying same-sex couples, and bar funding for LGBT-positive organizations.

The Columbus Dispatch: United Methodist minister and partner marry in defiance of church

JoAnne Viviano has been covering the local story in Columbus at the Dispatch. 

“We in the church have a way to go. We can no longer possibly live with any declaration that God loves all while it excludes some from acceptance and leadership based on sexual orientation,” said the Rev. Lou Seipel, pastor at Broad Street, who opened the service by reading part of last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage. “Are we not compelled to live by a different commandment — to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and all neighbors as ourselves?”

The Columbus Dispatch: United Methodist group wants clergy members suspended for same-sex wedding

Today’s story from Joanne Viviano drew on a statement written by The Rev. Jeff Greenway on behalf of the Evangelical Fellowship of West Ohio. Click here to read a full copy of the statement. 

Once formal complaints are submitted, the letter says, the bishop of the West Ohio Conference should suspend Meredith, as well as the pastor who presided over the wedding and the pastor of Broad Street United Methodist Church, where the wedding took place. Meredith served as pastor there from 1997 to 2012, when he took the helm at Clifton United Methodist Church in Cincinnati. The current pastor of the Downtown Church is the Rev. Lou Seipel. While no one presided over the couple’s vows, an all-church blessing of the union was led by the Rev. John Girard, who serves as associate pastor at Worthington United Methodist Church.

Public Statement of Support for Rev. David Meredith from West Ohio Clergy

The Reconciling Ministries Network released a listing of 91 West Ohio clergy who expressed their support of Meredith’s wedding. 

As clergy in the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, we stand in support of and celebration with our friend and colleague David Meredith and his spouse, Jim Schlachter.  For too long, our LGBT colleagues have had to keep their identities and relationships hidden in order to answer their call to ministry and avoid institutional conflict and controversy. This has denied them transparency, and denied the church their full voice and authentic witness to God’s love as it has been revealed to and through them.  At the same time, the UMC benefits from these colleagues’ wide-ranging gifts and sacrificial service, as they bring depth and life to congregations and ministries in every part of our denomination.  We hope and pray that as David and others have the courage to come out in the open, the United Methodist church will also find the courage and the wisdom to embody the full inclusion that is a visible sign of the love and ministry of Jesus.

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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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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Wake up, Church. This needs to be firmly stopped or it will simply spread like a cancer. If this is what the UMC is going to become, then I want no part of it. It’s a shame, too, as the UMC was the one denomination that was both liturgical and evangelical. But if the UMC joins the Episcopal Church in abandoning the tenets of scripture, the UMC will no longer be worth preserving. You cannot keep united those who are fundamentally at odds over biblical orthodoxy.

Bruce Davis
Bruce Davis

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m out of touch, but it would seem to me this sort of thing is more likely to harden hearts than change minds. .


Stories like this make me happy I left the UMC 3 years ago. I guess they’ll let anybody be a pastor.

Mark Hiser

It was my great honor to speak at the wedding of Rev. David Meredith and Jim Schlachter, his partner of 28 years. Though I spoke as their friend, I also spoke as a married gay man who is a member of the United Methodist Church. Few of us can appreciate the sacrifice David and Jim made by witnessing their love and commitment for one another. But it is that very sacrifice that underscores God’s love for all humanity and the spiritual violence certain statements in the UMC Book of Discipline inflict upon many of God’s family. When I was younger,… Read more »

Don Coffee
Don Coffee

We United Methodists advertise: “Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds.” We must live according to our advertising.

David Vaughn
David Vaughn

Having “Open Doors” does not mean that we have “No Doors.” All people are welcome to attend, but that does not mean that we have to accept and promote every action or lifestyle that an attender lives. We have a Discipline that clearly articulates our beliefs and our polity. Candidates for ministry are asked if they are in agreement. To answer ‘yes’ while not agreeing with our Discipline and polity is being dishonest, disingenuous, and deceitful.

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