Council of Bishops requests charges be filed

Response to retired bishop conducting same-gender ceremony

November 19, 2013

talbert weddingLAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The United Methodist Council of Bishops during its annual meeting here have taken actions to address a retired bishop’s conducting a same-gender ceremony in violation of denomination law.

The bishops requested that Council President Rosemarie Wenner and Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the North Alabama Conference, where the ceremony occurred, file a complaint. It would target Bishop Melvin Talbert’s action for “undermining the ministry of a colleague and conducting a ceremony to celebrate the marriage of a same-gender couple.”

“When there are violations of the Book of Discipline, [the denomination’s book of laws], a response is required,” the bishops said in a statement.

Initiate a task force

The Council also voted to initiate a task force to lead conversations about human sexuality, race and gender in a global perspective. The goal of this effort is to come to a shared theological understanding amid diverse opinions in the denomination about these issues.

These actions followed days of prayerful discernment and conversation about the action it would take after Talbert, a retired bishop, conducted the Oct. 26 ceremony celebrating the marriage of a same-gender couple in Center Point, Ala. This is a chargeable offense for United Methodist clergy.

Denomination law states, “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

Both Wallace-Padgett, presiding bishop of the North Alabama area, and the Council’s Executive Committee had requested Talbert not perform the ceremony.  Read more at

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