As the United Methodist Church grapples with open dissent from bishops and clergy over its teaching that condemns homosexuality, it has decided to drop charges against a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.”
A complaint against Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy, who is married to another woman, have been dropped, and she will face no charges, reports that Methodists in New Directions, a pro-LGBT organization,
The complaint was filed in March 2013, but Bishop Martin McLee, who was charged with handling the petition, decided not to press charges, according to MIND.
Tweedy, who is on staff at a church in White Plains, N.Y., said the denomination’s decision respected the spirit of Methodist teaching, rather than its specific prohibitions, as well as her own openness about her sexuality.
“In dismissing this case, Bishop McLee has chosen to honor the inclusive and justice-affirming intents of our Book of Discipline over its prejudiced and punitive rules. I have never denied who God created me to be and I have never denied my family,” she said in a press release.
In March, McLee helped facilitate a compromise that saw charges dropped against Rev. Thomas Ogletree for officiating his son’s wedding to another man, as reported in the The Advocate.
After that resolution was announced, McLee called for “a cessation of church trials for conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions or performing same gender wedding ceremonies and instead offer a process of theological, spiritual and ecclesiastical conversation.”
Some local Methodist branches, including the New York conference that ordained Tweedy, have spoken out against the church’s teaching on sexuality. The Advocate reported Sunday that denominational leaders may consider a resolution in 2016 to change church doctrine on homosexuality.
Follow Michael O’Loughlin on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.