Bishop Scott Jones of the Great Plains Annual Conference today referred the complaint made against Rev. Cynthia Meyer to the Rev. David Bell as counsel for the Church.
The bishop’s decision came after the parties involved in the supervisory response process – outlined by The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline – were not able to agree upon a just resolution. Bishop Jones has chosen to refer the complaint as the next step in the complaint process.
Rev. Bell now will review the evidence and then could choose to take the complaint to the Committee on Investigation, a body that could decide whether to move the matter to a church trial. No date has been set for such a step.
On Jan. 3, Rev. Meyer preached a sermon at Edgerton United Methodist Church in which she said she was in a “committed relationship” with another woman characterized as a “covenant.” She sent a copy of the sermon to her district superintendent, the Rev. David Watson. On Jan. 5, Rev. Watson, filed a complaint against Rev. Meyer alleging that she is a self-avowed, practicing homosexual. This is a chargeable offense for clergy in The United Methodist Church.
On Jan. 7, Bishop Jones notified Rev. Meyer of the complaint and began the supervisory response process, which included times for discussion and discernment about the situation.
The United Methodist Church’s General Conference is scheduled for May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon. This collection of more than 860 delegates from around the world will consider amendments to the Book of Discipline, which serves a similar function in the church as legal codes serve in the secular world. The General Conference will consider legislation on multiple issues surrounding human sexuality. The vote of the General Conference is akin to the “law” of the church’s processes and procedures. Items considered during General Conference that are not tied to the Church’s constitution pass or fail on a majority vote. Therefore, human sexuality-related issues will be decided on a majority vote of those delegates.
“While many persons within The United Methodist Church disagree with the rule that says persons who are self-avowed, practicing homosexuals may not be ordained and may not be appointed as pastors, the rule is currently in effect,” Bishop Jones said. “Rev. Meyer’s sermon prompted the supervisory response, the attempt to find an agreed-upon just resolution and this referral to Church counsel, as outlined in the Book of Discipline.”
As the process continues, Rev. Meyer will continue to serve Edgerton United Methodist Church.
Bishop Jones asks that persons keep Rev. Meyer, Edgerton United Methodist Church and the Great Plains Conference in your prayers.