By Sally Morrow and Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service.
A United Methodist pastor who recently came out as gay may be a step closer to a church trial, just weeks before the United Methodist Church’s General Conference is expected to take up the question of gay clergy and gay unions.
Bishop Scott Jones of the Great Plains Conference rejected a proposal to resolve a complaint lodged against the Rev. Cynthia Meyer, who came out to her Edgerton, Kan., congregation during a Jan. 3 sermon.
Meanwhile, the church’s top policymaking body, the General Conference, meets in Oregon May 10-20 and is expected to reconsider its rules on gay pastors and gay marriage.
Over the past decade, the denomination has put on trial several ministers for officiating at gay weddings. In 2013, the Rev. Frank Schaefer of Pennsylvania was barred from ministry by the church after officiating at his gay son’s wedding, then reinstated on appeal.
The United Methodist Church is one of the last mainline Protestant denominations to prohibit the ordination of openly gay clergy. Its Book of Discipline calls the practice of homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”