Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
April 27, 2016
Contact: Jeff Walton office: 202-682-4131, cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail: [email protected]
“They have demonstrated a profound lack of personal integrity, by breaking their own word, and an extreme disrespect for the majority of United Methodists, who do not agree with their actions.”
-UMAction Director John Lomperis
Washington, DC—A North Carolina United Methodist pastor who conducted a same-sex wedding Saturday alongside a retired bishop in violation of denominational rules has had complaints filed against her. Pastor Val Rosenquist presided over the ceremony with Bishop Melvin Talbert conducted at Charlotte First United Methodist Church.
The Western North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church released a statement saying that in response to the filed complaints, Bishop Larry Goodpaster “has begun the process outlined in paragraph 363 of The 2012 Book of Discipline.” The process could potentially lead to a church trial and defrocking, or a negotiated settlement.
The United Methodist Church’s governing Book of Discipline states: “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”
Charlotte First United Methodist Church has declined in membership and attendance by approximately 30 percent over the past decade and conducted a total of two baptisms in the most recent reporting year.
IRD’s United Methodist Action Director John Lomperis commented:
“Activists like Talbert and Rosenquist represent a failed model of leading dying churches while trying to ‘hijack’ our denomination for their own secular agendas. They have demonstrated a profound lack of personal integrity, by breaking their own word, and an extreme disrespect for the majority of United Methodists, who do not agree with their actions.
“With such publicity stunts, they are committing great pastoral harm to everyone involved, while making clear that they have no interest in our denomination’s biblical doctrine or in keeping their own promises to the rest of us.
“They chose to seek ordination in our denomination and to vow to uphold our standards. If they are no longer United Methodist in their beliefs, they would have more integrity if they left for another faith community, rather than take such a self-centered approach of breaking their ordination vows and demanding everybody else change for them.
“This episode highlights the importance of my fellow General Conference delegates joining me in supporting proposals to make bishops accountable to the global denomination, rather than to their home regions, and to people other than their fellow bishops. Otherwise, out-of-control bishops like Mr. Talbert will continue to be unaccountable.
“I pray for Bishop Goodpaster and all involved in this process, that we may see a fair process leading to swift and public accountability.”