By Walter Fenton, Good News Magazine.
In a passionate email to the people of the [United Methodist Church Michigan Area], Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey writes that her “heart is broken” regarding the potential “next steps” she will have to take in the case of the West Michigan Annual Conference pastor, the Rev. Mike Tupper.
Kiesey’s letter came after Tupper informed her he would not agree to a “just resolution” regarding his performance of a wedding for the Rev. Benjamin Hutchison and his partner this past July. It was the second time in as many years that Tupper had violated the church’s prohibiting clergy from presiding at same-sex weddings.
In August of 2014 Tupper presided at his daughter’s same-sex marriage. A “just resolution” was reached in that case. However, in the terms of that resolution Kiesey failed to hold him accountable in any meaningful way for his actions. She did not even require him to agree to refrain from presiding at same-sex weddings in the future. She surely knew the resolution had no value in terms of deterrence.
So it is a little odd to read Kiesey’s lament about the difficult situation she finds herself in now that Tupper has presided at another same-sex service, and this time refuses to enter into a just resolution.