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This brave pastor might be sacked for coming out to her congregation after 25 years in the closet

Nick Duffy April 7, 2016

A brave Methodist pastor is facing potential removal from her church – because she revealed she is in a lesbian relationship after 25 years in the closet.

Rev. Cynthia Meyer, the former Assistant Dean of Students for the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, came out in a sermon to the Edgerton United Methodist Church in Edgerton, Kansas in January this year.

Speaking to her congregation, the pastor – whose church is just a few towns over from the notoriously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church – explained that she would no longer be hiding her true self.

She said: “I’ve been an Ordained United Methodist Pastor for 25 years… at last I am choosing to serve in that role with full authenticity, as my genuine self. As a woman who loves and shares my love with another woman.

“I remained single through 20 years of my ministry, then a few years ago a wonderful relationship began to develop.

“Our relationship is a holy part of God’s calling. We decided to commit our lives in love and covenant with one another. It was time.”

However, she is now facing action from the United Methodist Church – which continues to enforce a ban on openly gay clergy.

According to Reconciling Church Ministries, the holy-woman met with supervising Bishop Scott Jones, who suggested that her church split from the UMC entirely.

She rejected the suggestion, and the issue was not resolved – meaning a complaint against Rev Meyer will now head to a committee.

LGBT advocates fear that the Church is gearing up to remove her from her position – despite the overwhelming support of her parishioners.

Ms Meyer said: “On Epiphany Sunday, I stood before one tiny congregation and declared, ‘I will not live in the darkness.’

“And now, I will not surrender my credentials or accept as ‘Just Resolution’ an unjust list of demands and contingencies.

“I will not ask that faithful congregation to leave the denomination it has lovingly served for decades.

“I will, instead, continue to follow the light of love, justice and full inclusion for all.”

She said previously: “Ideally, my telling you that I am in a committed relationship would simply mean that I could relate to you and to everyone else in openness and honesty, offering my most valuable gift – my full self.

“I could stop saying I’m going on vacation with a ‘friend. I could use the great sermon illustrations than come from ordinary day-to-day life as a couple.

“I could stop pretending to live alone. I could stop denying who I proudly, faithfully am, and who I proudly, faithfully love.”

RMN Executive Director Matt Berryman said: “We are so proud of Cynthia, who has influenced so many of us who studied with her in the seminary.

“Her brave decision to live her truth will reverberate beyond her church and touch many Methodists who have long admired her gifts to the UMC.

“While the Supreme Court has made marriage equality the law of the land, it is still not an option for all people of faith, nor is it possible for LGBTQ persons to serve authentically and openly as ordained clergy.

“We hope Cynthia’s story inspires others to join us in bringing justice to our church.”

Rules surrounding LGBTQ clergy are set to be discussed by the UMC’s General Conference this May.

More: Gay, lesbian, LGBT, methodist, pastor, Religion, US, US

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