Pastor sacked for coming out to her congregation after 25 years in the closet

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A Methodist pastor has been told she must vacate her post by her church after she revealed she is in a lesbian relationship after 25 years in the closet.

Reverend Cynthia Meyer, the former Assistant Dean of Students for the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, came out in a sermon to the Edgerton United Methodist Church in Edgerton, Kansas in January this year.

Speaking to her congregation, the pastor – whose church is just a few towns over from the notoriously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church – explained that she would no longer be hiding her true self.

She said: “I’ve been an Ordained United Methodist Pastor for 25 years… at last I am choosing to serve in that role with full authenticity, as my genuine self. As a woman who loves and shares my love with another woman.

“I remained single through 20 years of my ministry, then a few years ago a wonderful relationship began to develop.

“Our relationship is a holy part of God’s calling. We decided to commit our lives in love and covenant with one another. It was time.”

But eight months later, the United Methodist Church in Edgerton will get a new pastor.

After a 13-hour long negotiation of Meyers’ fate by the church, she has been pushed out, and although she is “welcome to attend the church”, she has been told she “cannot be pastor”.

“This decision felt a little bit more like a plea bargain than a just resolution,” Meyer said of the decision.

The Bishop Scott Jones said: “The rules at the moment state that our church welcomes lesbian and gay persons as members and encourages them to be involved in our churches and encourages our churches to welcome them.

“However, we do not appoint self-avowed practicing gay and lesbians to be pastors.”

Meyer said she still has no regrets about taking the risk to come out publicly, she said: “It didn’t feel so much like a risk to me. I processed and discerned for a long time in prayer and it really felt like a calling.”

She will hold her last sermon on 28 August, and says love and inclusion will be on the docket.

“Each and every one of us is a beloved child of God and our sexuality or gender identity does not negate that in any way,” Meyer said.