Methodist bishop dismisses case against lesbian minister

Remember Martin McLee, the United Methodist Church bishop who, this past March, by way of refusing to in any way “discipline” a UMC pastor for marrying his gay son, made this ground-shaking declaration?:

As the Bishop of the New York Annual Conference, in consideration of my responsibility to provide spiritual, pastoral and temporal oversight for those committed to my care, I call for and commit to a cessation of church trials for conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions or performing same-gender wedding ceremonies . . .

(For more on that story, see my post Breaking news: United Methodist Bishop drops all charges against Thomas Ogletree, calls for end of “disciplining” UMC pastors who perform gay weddings.)

Well, he’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaack! And the world’s a better place foooooooooooor it!

This just in, from our friends at Methodists in New Directions*:

New York, NY, May 5, 2014 – Methodists in New Directions (MIND) announced today that the church complaint against MIND steering committee member Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy accusing her of being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual” had been dismissed. Rev. Tweedy received an official letter from Bishop Martin McLee last week notifying her that he was dropping the complaint, thereby declining to pursue formal disciplinary charges against Tweedy, who is an out, married lesbian. The United Methodist Church bars “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from being ordained or serving as ministers. …

Rev. Tweedy made the following statement in response to the news of the dismissal:

In dismissing this case, Bishop McLee has chosen to honor the inclusive and justice-affirming intents of our Book of Discipline over its prejudiced and punitive rules. I have never denied who God created me to be and I have never denied my family. I went through this 14-month ordeal with the same integrity I went through the ordination process with, forthrightly answering questions and not hiding any aspect of my identity or my marriage. If my honesty resulted in my being defined as “self-avowed, practicing homosexual,” I was willing to face those consequences. Bishop McLee’s refusal to seek prosecution offers hope that other LGBTQ seminarians, ordination candidates and ministers in our New York Annual Conference can also live and work openly without fear of losing their jobs and their vocation.

To quote the old Psalm:

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

*For more information on this story, contact Dorothee Benz, Methodists in New Directions, 718-314-4432.

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