Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gay Couple Files Complaint Against Minister for Refusing Gay Wedding

A gay couple has filed a formal complaint against Rev. Kelly P. Carpenter of Green Street Church in Winston-Salem, NC, after the Methodist minister declined to officiate at their wedding:
The couple, Kenneth Barner and Scott Chappell, charge Carpenter under the Book of Discipline with “failure to perform the work of ministry.” Their complaint also accuses Carpenter of “gender discrimination” in not officiating at their ceremony. Gender discrimination is also a chargeable offense under church law.

The United Methodist Book of Discipline, the denomination’s book of church law and teachings, also states that all people are of sacred worth but the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” It is a chargeable offense under church law for clergy to preside at same-sex unions.

In the complaint, the couple says the denomination’s rules are contradictory.

“God’s grace is available to all and so should the pastoral ministry (be),” the complaint said. 

Carpenter said he has followed the church’s prohibition against same-gender weddings because he does not want to jeopardize his work for the church or harm the other ministries of Green Street Church. 

However, he is sympathetic to Barner and Chappell.

“If there was a way for me to be a co-signer with the complaint, I think it’s right on the money,” he said. “It really calls out the contradictions in our Book of Discipline, which calls us to be ministry with all people.”
It's worth noting that this complaint was filed within the United Methodist Church court processes and not as part of any municipal nondiscrimination ordinance.

A bishop will listen to the complaint and respond according to The Book of Discipline. My hunch is that this will go nowhere.

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