By Heather Hahn, United Methodist News.
A United Methodist pastor came out to her Kansas congregation during a Jan. 3 sermon in this year’s first public action aimed at influencing the 2016 General Conference.
“I have been an ordained United Methodist pastor for 25 years. At last, I am choosing to serve in that role with full authenticity, as my genuine self, a woman who loves and shares my life with another woman,” said the Rev. Cynthia Meyer during her sermon at Edgerton United Methodist Church. Meyer has served as the church’s pastor since July.
Her announcement comes as United Methodists across the theological spectrum are gearing up for the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly, where the church’s stance on homosexuality usually tops the controversy list.
The Book of Discipline, the denomination’s book of policy and teachings, since 1972 has proclaimed that all individuals are of sacred worth but the practice of homosexuality “is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Church law lists being a “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy member and officiating at same-sex unions among the denomination’s chargeable offenses. That means Meyer could face a church trial and potentially lose her clergy credentials.
Bishop Scott Jones leads the Great Plains Conference where Meyer serves. He is “aware of the situation involving the Rev. Cynthia Meyer, and the processes provided for in the Book of Discipline are being followed,” said Todd Seifert, the conference’s director of communications. “The bishop will share more information as it becomes appropriate to do so.”
Only General Conference can change these church policies, and the body will face multiple proposals regarding the church’s homosexuality stance when it meets May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon.