Yesterday, the UMC Bishop in Kansas announced that efforts at a “Just Resolution” failed and that the Bishop recommended to the Nebraska-Kansas Annual Conference to proceed to a church trial for a pastor. This pastor, Rev. Cynthia Meyer, came out to her Kansas congregation during a January 3rd sermon. The “Just Resolution” is a mediation process for pastors and annual conferences recommended as a grace-filled way of handling church-violation charges against a pastor for being in a same-sex relationship or conducting same sex weddings. The Florida Annual Conference approved this process as the preferred way to handle conflicts and charges against pastors and churches in the Florida Conference, although the church trial procedure is still a possibility.
Reported by the Reconciling Ministries Network (St. John’s was one of the first congregations in the South to belong to RMN over 19 years ago) this action is significant because it moves Rev. Meyer—an ordained pastor in the UMC with full credentials for 25 years—a step closer to a church trial just weeks away from the UMC’s General Conference, during which church policy is determined for the next four years. More than 800 delegates from across the country and around the world will meet in Portland, Oregon from May 10-20 to decide whether to lift current church prohibitions on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage, among other issues.
Maybe relevant to St. John’s current discussions, the Kansas bishop’s “Just Resolution” recommendation to Rev. Meyer and to her small church was to authorize her congregation to withdraw from the UMC and for her to take her ordination credentials with her. RMN Executive Director, Matt Berryman said, “as faithful LGBTQ Methodists, what we hear from the (Kansas) bishop is ‘you and your kind are not welcome here.’”