Divide between Methodists over gay rights issue widens as pro-gay rights members protest against church’s decision to remove a Lesbian pastor from her position.
The Methodist Church is facing turbulent times with members getting divided into two factions: those who support gay rights and those who do not. Though Christianity has teachings that conflict with the rights of homosexuals, the Methodist church has been increasingly becoming more and more lenient towards the LGBT community. This chasm between supporters and non-supporters became clear in the aftermath of Reverend Cynthia Meyer declaring that she was in a committed relationship with another woman.
This revelation by a Methodist pastor shocked the faithful, but she was accepted by the community, which is becoming increasingly open to gay rights. However, the Church policy absolutely bans gay people from becoming pastors and conducting services. Needless to say, Rev. Meyer was asked to step down by the church before long.
— Zach Nell (@Zach_w4it_Nell) August 5, 2016
The pastor met with church authorities after a complaint was lodged against her, but the meeting did not come to a resolution. Following the meeting, the pastor was placed on an involuntary “leave of absence.” This means that she does not have to attend the trial the church will hold for her. Expressing her grief, Meyer said that she was “heartbroken” by this decision of the church and is upset at this exclusion of its queer members.
The denomination will be holding a General Conference in 2020 to discuss the issue of gay rights in the community. Meyer will be suspended from all her pastoral privileges and services until the Conference comes out with a clear judgment. However, her services can be engaged in the church whenever required and as seen fit by the Church authorities.
Meyer said that she was heartbroken by what has happened. She accused the Church of sending a message to its gay members that they are not holy enough to perform sacred duties and that this is a clear case of discrimination against queer Methodists. Around 150 people came forward supporting Meyer, many of whom were other Methodist pastors. Foremost amongst the Methodist pastors who support gay rights are Rev. Brian Sutton and Rev. Kent Little.
— G. Jeffrey MacDonald (@gjmacdonald) August 3, 2016
"Church trial" for a lesbian? How's that different than "Sharia Law" https://t.co/XU3SCSCCwC
— Charles Miller (@FreemanToday) August 4, 2016
Meyer came out to the community on January 3 during a sermon where she said that she “loves and shares her life with another woman.” Meyer, who has been a pastor for 25 years, found herself in the midst of this strife after a complaint went to the authorities who asked her to step down. The Book of Discipline has since 1972 allowed everyone to be ministers in the Church, excluding homosexuals. Homosexuals have been called people who live in “non-conformity with the Christian faith” and as such directs disciplinary actions against pastors who are homosexual.