United Methodist pastor faces possible church trial after coming out as gay

Rev. Cynthia Meyer says she is in a ‘committed relationship’ with another woman.(YouTube/Religious News Service)

A United Methodist Church pastor in Kansas may face church trial after she came out as gay last January.

The complaint against Rev. Cynthia Meyer of the Edgerton United Methodist Church in Edgerton, Kansas, was referred to Rev. David Bell as counsel of the church, Religion News Service reports.

Last Jan. 3, Meyer preached at the church in which she announced that she was in a "committed relationship" with another woman, which she described as a "covenant."

She sent a copy of her sermon to her district superintendent, Rev. David Watson.

Two days later, Watson filed a complaint against her, calling her a self-avowed, practising homosexual—a chargeable offence for clergy under the United Methodist Church.

Under the church's Book of Discipline, "The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practising homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church."

The decision to refer her complaint came after parties involved in the supervisory response process did not agree on a just resolution of Meyer's case.

Bell will review the evidence and may choose to take the complaint to the Committee on Investigation, a church body that could decide whether to move the matter to a church trial. No date has been set.

The review takes place ahead of the United Methodist Church's General Conference slated on May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon.

More than 860 delegates from around the world will consider amendments to the church's Book of Discipline on human sexuality.

"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," said Bishop Scott Jones. "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."

While Meyer awaits a decision on her case, she will continue to serve at the Edgerton church.

Meyer was appointed as Edgerton pastor last July after serving 12 years as assistant dean of students at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, according to the Religion News Service.

Jones suggested to Meyer to wait for the decision of the conference. If the decision to allow gay pastors is rejected, Jones told Meyer to withdraw from the ministry. She could also withdraw her congregation from the church and establish an independent church or affiliate of another denomination.

Meyer rejected both proposals.

On Facebook, Meyer said a few church leaders were upset with Jones' proposal.

"They joined me in my dismay at his suggestion that I leave, and that the entire congregation leave the denomination," Meyer said.