The United Methodist Church placed Rev. Cynthia Meyer on involuntary leave until the next General conference convenes in 2020 or sooner when a special session on denomination's stand on LGBT issue is conducted.
A complaint was filed against Meyer for openly coming out as a lesbian in January, which was in violation of the Book of Discipline which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and forbids ordination of non-celibate homosexuals.
The decision was made at a 12-hour meeting on August 1, which attempted to reach a just resolution and to find a common ground between the church and the pastor.
Her leave begins on September 1, and she will not be able to serve as pastor of Edgerton (Kansas) United Methodist Church, or as an elder who administers sacraments.
However, she will be allowed to work in church or its affiliated organizations in the capacity of lay staff.
Meyer released a statement in response of the decision by the committee, saying that the church meted out unequal treatment to LGBTQ members.
"I am heartbroken, as I agree to give up the right to serve in ministry as an Elder in The United Methodist Church for an undetermined time. Even as I agree to this resolution, I assert that it is not just and furthers the harm inflicted, not just on me, but on all LGBTQ persons in the church. Again we are told, 'you aren't equal; you aren't good enough; you aren't of enough sacred worth to serve as an ordained leader in your church.' I pray the commission and the denomination as a whole may strive toward a more faithful following of Jesus, who overturned oppression, called the outcast, and welcomed all to be fed and to feed, to be loved and to lead and serve."
The legislative body will take a decision on the LGBTQ issue at the next General Conference, after which Meyer could be either restored to full elder status or face the trial again. However, the church may also approve another provision for her as a conciliatory measure.
"The agreement we reached upholds the Book of Discipline and yet recognizes that the larger denomination is in a time of discernment about a way forward," Great Plains Area Bishop Scott Jones told United Methodist News Service. "So this agreement recognizes that accountability was necessary and yet holds open possibilities for whatever the general church is going to decide."