Former UM pastor turns in credentials, starts in new denomination

2/2/2018

A former United Methodist pastor who told her congregation two years ago that she was a lesbian has turned in her credentials after serving a new church in a different denomination.

“I no longer have any formal relationship to the United Methodist Church,” the Rev. Cynthia Meyer, interim minister at Central Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Topeka, wrote in a statement.

​The Rev. Cynthia Meyer gets a hug and well wishes from supporters after a meeting with Bishop Scott Jones on March 28, 2016, in Wichita, Kansas. Photo by Todd Seifert

On Jan. 30, Meyer delivered her ordination certificates – for deacon in 1990 and elder in 1992 – to the Rev. David Watson, Five Rivers District superintendent.

Meyer began serving the Topeka congregation of the United Church of Christ in November 2016.

“I found it (a) gift and blessing to serve in a justice-oriented … congregation, that is supported and guided by a strong denominational commitment to be open and affirming of all persons, including those in the LGBTQ community,” she wrote.

Meyer wrote that she sought full ministerial status with the United Church of Christ.

“This status was granted in late January, allowing me the to leave the limbo I have been in, and step whole-heartedly into the life of a denomination that welcomes me fully as a beloved child of God called and qualified to serve in ordained ministerial leadership,” she wrote.

During a sermon in January 2016, Meyer told her congregation at Edgerton UMC that she was in a committed relationship with another woman. A United Methodist pastor for 25 years, Meyer reached a resolution with the conference and then-Bishop Scott Jones in August 2016 that put her on an involuntary leave of absence, removed her from duties as an elder and said she could only be hired by a church or church agency for duties equal to a lay staff person.

The resolution also said that her credentials could be reinstated within 90 days of the close of the next General Conference if a change is made in the Book of Discipline regarding self-avowed LGBTQ pastors. Under the current Book of Discipline, The United Methodist Church’s book of law and procedure, the Church does not allow self-avowed, practicing homosexuals to serve as ordained clergy.

A special session of General Conference is scheduled for February 2019 in St. Louis to take up that issue and others surrounding human sexuality. The denomination is awaiting a final report from the Bishops’ Commission on a Way Forward, a group of 32 people appointed by the Council of Bishops to explore ways the denomination can retain its unity amid the divisive arguments over human sexuality. That report is due to be released later in 2018.

Reconciling Ministries Network, which advocates for LGBTQ clergy, posted the sermon from Jan. 28 at Lawrence First United Methodist Church, where Meyer shared her experience as a guest preacher.

Contact David Burke, communications coordinator, at dburke@greatplainsumc.org.


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