The Rev. Cynthia Meyer shocked parishioners when she came out as a lesbian during her first sermon of the new year on Jan. 3. Now, she's publicly advocating for the United Methodist Church to officially embrace gays and lesbians.
Meyer, pastor of Edgerton United Methodist Church in Edgerton, Kansas, told the congregation, "At last I am choosing to serve in that role with full authenticity and as my genuine self — as a woman who loves and shares my life with another woman."
It was a sermon that was reportedly strategically delivered in partnership with Reconciling Ministries Network’s “It’s Time” campaign, an effort that advocates for LBGTQ inclusion in the United Methodist Church.
The denomination doesn’t permit same-sex matrimony, and supports “laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Watch Meyer's announcement below:
With that in mind, Meyer's video resounded far beyond the walls of the Edgerton United Methodist Church, with the 53-year-old pastor recently speaking out to Religion News Service to explain her reasoning for so publicly sharing the news.
"It's a very hard thing to understand that, as a person in all your fullness, you're fully loved by God and not to be able to express that in life in general, but particularly while serving as a minister and telling other people that they're fully loved just as they are," she told the outlet.
Meyer also said that she has been in a relationship with her partner, Mary, for the past four years.
"With lots of prayer and discernment, about four years ago, I think, we began to enter into more of a personal relationship and it's grown from there," she said. "It was a relief to have been open with the people who were in the sanctuary that day."
As for the reaction within the church, she said that she was surprised to see some of the very individuals who she feared would struggle take a very different stance in the wake of her revelation.
"Some folks that we thought might be really troubled by this were just fine," she said. "Their views have changed and their understandings of scripture have changed and I think that's much broader than some of our leadership is aware of."
Watch Meyer explain her story below:
Meyer found acceptance inside her church, but it's still unclear whether she'll be able to hold onto her position. She quickly found herself in the crosshairs after sending a copy of her sermon to the superintendent of her district.
A complaint was subsequently filed and a suspension was recommended, though she remains on staff at the church.
This uncertainty comes as the United Methodist Church prepares to hash out the issue of gay clergy at its May general conference in Portland, Oregon — a battle that threatens to divide the Christian denomination.
As TheBlaze has extensively reported, this is hardly the first battle this issue has emerged within the United Methodist Church, as the Rev. Michael Tupper of Parchment United Methodist Church in Parchment, Michigan, was reportedly involved in a wedding ceremony last year for the Rev. Benjamin Hutchinson, a gay pastor.
Tupper officiated the controversial event, signed the couple’s marriage license along with another preacher named Ginny Mikita, and joined eight other pastors in publicly naming the couple “husband and husband,” the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.
The United Methodist Church also decided back in 2014 to reinstate a pastor who was defrocked after presiding over his son’s same-sex nuptials. The Rev. Frank Schaefer successfully appealed the denomination’s December decision to remove his pastoral rights after he conducted a 2007 ceremony for his son and his partner.
(H/T: Religion News Service)
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: