Bishop Talbert’s Complaint Resolved

January 6, 2015


UMC bishop no longer facing trial for officiating same-sex wedding
January 5, 2015


Complaints filed against Bishop Melvin Talbert alleging he violated the sacred trust of his office for officiating a same-sex wedding have been resolved, avoiding trial. In the agreement, Bishop Talbert “holds steadfastly to the conviction that his actions were just and right,” and Bishops Wenner and Wallace-Padgett maintain that “pain exists throughout the entire connection, including among those who support the actions of Bishop Talbert, and those who object to the actions.”

Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince asked Bishop Talbert to preside at their wedding after the pastor at their church was forbidden by her supervisors at The United Methodist Church to have any part with the wedding of her same-gender, committed church members, including pre-marital counseling or attending the wedding. Bishop Talbert traveled down to Birmingham from his home in Nashville, Tennessee to help the couple celebrate their love for each other and their covenant to let their love be a sign of God’s love for the world.
North Alabama Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett not only filed a complaint against Bishop Talbert for performing the wedding, but for interfering in her region, drawing parallels for some of former United Methodist bishops of the same Birmingham area, calling Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. an “outsider” and calling his witness “unwise and untimely.”

Upon hearing news of the Resolution, Bishop Talbert was elated, but still firm in his conviction for Biblical Obediece, a movement he believes can offer the best way forward for The UMC:

We reached a Just Resolution! Praise God! I’m grateful to my colleague Bishops Rosemarie Wenner and Debra Wallace-Padgett, consultants, and all the support persons, for their openness, honesty and fairness in the process. However, our primary mission of ‘making disciples…’ is still before us. At some point our church must choose its best future. Out of the depth of my heart, I believe embracing Biblical Obedience offers the best way forward for maximizing its potential for growth and full inclusion. I pray that we will remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, as we continue the struggle to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. As the prophet Micah said, “God has told you, human one, what is good, and what God requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.” – Bishop Melvin G. Talbert


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