Lesbian Methodist Pastor on Involuntary Leave for Violating Rules on Gay Clergy

A lesbian pastor of the United Methodist Church was put on involuntary leave for violating the denomination's ban on having "self-avowed" homosexual clergy.

The Reverend Cynthia Meyer of Edgerton United Methodist Church in Kansas agreed earlier this week to the punishment in order to avoid a church trial.

According to the UMC Great Plains Annual Conference, the regional body which Meyer was part of, the involuntary leave is part of a resolution process.

"Rev. Meyer will go on involuntary leave of absence as of September 1st, 2016 with permission of the Executive Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry," stated the Annual Conference.

"Meyer's credentials will remain as they are up to 90 days following the close of the next General Conference. During that time [Meyer] may not perform the duties of an Elder."

The Annual Conference proceeded to note that Meyer can still "be hired by any church or church agency to perform functions equivalent to those of a lay staff person."

"If General Conference approves some new structure which would allow Rev. Meyer to be in good standing within some aspect of that new structure, then her full status would be restored immediately," continued Great Plains.

The punishment came in response to a complaint filed against Meyer back in January when she came out to her congregation during a sermon.

According to the UMC Book of Discipline rules on ordination, individuals in same-sex relationships cannot become clergy.

"While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world," reads the Book of Discipline.

"The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church."

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