A local pastor could be suspended, even stripped of her credentials, because she is gay.
The Rev. Cynthia Meyer of Edgerton United Methodist Church announced in her sermon at Sunday service on January 3 that she is homosexual.
Here's the video of Reverend Meyer addressing her congregation:
"It's hard to stand in the pulpit and say repeatedly to your people, 'God loves you whatever, whoever you are, all of you, you are created in God's image and you are beloved' and to know the church would not make those same statements about you," Meyer said.
The United Methodist Church is now reviewing the complaint filed in Meyer's case.
A full statement reading:
"Ordination and membership in an annual conference in The United Methodist Church is a sacred trust. The qualifications and duties of local pastors, associate members, provisional members, and full members are set forth in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, and we believe they flow from the gospel as taught by Jesus the Christ and proclaimed by his apostles. Whenever a person in any of the above categories, including those on leaves of all types, honorable or administrative location, or retirement, is accused of violating this trust, the membership of his or her ministerial office shall be subject to review. This review shall have as its primary purpose a just resolution of any violations of this sacred trust, in the hope that God's work of justice, reconciliation and healing may be realized in the body of Christ."
"[The book of discipline] specifically does not allow homosexuals to be ordained clergy," Meyer said. "I could be suspended for a time. There may be an effort to work toward what is called a just resolution, but another possible outcome is that I would lose my clergy credentials and I would not be able to serve as a pastor in the United Methodist Church."
Another local pastor from St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Lenexa, Kan., wrote a petition to change that law.
"I see the harm that's done to people in the name of God, in the name of the church, and it just can't happen anymore," said the Rev. David Livingston. "There's a faithful, gifted pastor who happens to be gay, so how can that be reconciled?"
Change could come as early as this spring. The general conference of the United Methodist Church is in Portland, Ore., from May 10 through 20. It happens once every four years, and the book of discipline can be revised at that time.
Livingston explained, "It's basically like a legislative session for the United Methodist Church."
Meyer tells 41 Action News after 40 years with the church and 25 as a pastor, it was not an easy decision.
"I think I've felt the weight of it for some time and by this past Sunday I was really ready. It's a responsibility I'm willing to take and I'm willing to face whatever the consequences may be," Meyer shared. "If there isn't change, if I'm stripped of my orders, I don't know if I can stay."
Dia Wall can be reached at email@example.com.