A United Methodist Church pastor in Kansas may be put on trial by the church after she disclosed her relationship with another woman during a sermon on January 3 this year.
After disclosing the information in the sermon, Rev. Cynthia Meyer of Edgerton United Methodist Church, Kansas, sent a copy of her sermon to her district superintendent, Rev. David Watson, who is the counsel of the church as well.
As part of the proceedings in conformity with written code of the church, Rev. David Watson filed a complaint against her with the UMC. Under the church's Book of Discipline, homosexuality is not acceptable in the Christian doctrine. No date has been set for her trial.
"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," says UMC's Book of Discipline.
However, Meyer's case comes just weeks before the UMC was to reconsider its stance of prohibiting gay pastors and unions from church's service, and to amend the Book of Discipline.
At a General Conference meeting in Portland scheduled around May 15, UMC is expected to alter its policy of not allowing gay pastors and marriages in the church. It remains the only mainline Protestant denominations which has not yet formally permitted openly gay clergy.
According to Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), a gay advocacy group within UMC, church bodies may be delaying hearing on Meyer's case till they meet in Portland this May, so the that the ruling goes in her favor.
"It should be noted that Rev. Meyer is serving in a Conference that has - by a 60-40 vote - requested that the General Conference allow LGBTQ individuals to serve openly as pastors," RMN said in a statement in a UMC press release.
Over 860 delegates from different countries will decide if the Book of Discipline needs to be amended.
Though Bishop Jones prompted a supervisory response to her disclosure, he wrote an email to Meyer on Easter Sunday, asking her to wait until the General Conference rules on gay clergy.
In the letter, he said that if the conference keeps the old rules, she would need to withdraw from the ministry. Or as an alternative, he said, the congregation could withdraw from the denomination and form a new independent church.
Meyer rejected both the proposals, and will continue to serve at the Edgerton church until a decision is reached by UMC.
On her Facebook page, Meyer said that many church leaders were wary of Jones' proposal.
"They joined me in my dismay at his suggestion that I leave, and that the entire congregation leave the denomination," she said.
A UMC press release states that Jones has requested prayers for both Meyer and his Great Plains Conference as they pass through these times.