United Methodist Church Refuses to Ordain Lesbian as Deacon

Mary Ann Kaiser Barclay (Photo courtesy of Reconciling Ministries Network)
Mary Ann Kaiser Barclay (Photo courtesy of Reconciling Ministries Network)

Mary Ann Kaiser Barclay, the woman in the Southwest Texas Annual Conference (SWTAC) whose candidacy was challenged last year because of her sexual orientation (ultimately leading to two separate Judicial Council actions) was not “moved forward” in her ordination process by the SWTAC Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM). By not being continued in the process, Barclay was referred to the Austin District Committee on Ordained Ministry (DCOM) for further examination.

In a statement posted at www.RMNBlog.org (run by the Reconciling Ministries Network) Barclay said that the reason given by the board was “..they felt I failed to articulate my understanding of the “Lordship of Christ for the world,” the particular role of ordination, and a failure to communicate my ‘internal call.’” Although Barclay’s self-proclaimed lesbian orientation was mentioned as a reason for rejection last year by the BOM (a decision that would be reversed by the Judicial Council based on concerns about process), Barclay stated that she was never asked about her orientation in her interview with the BOM earlier today. “I can’t help but wonder how their perception of my sexuality influenced their thinking,” Barclay wrote.

“Today I hoped in my Board of Ordained Ministry, and in my church, by trusting in them enough to share the call God has placed on my life,” Barclay wrote. “Their vote not to recommend me for ministry today makes me sad, hurt, and angry. I am sad because my journey is stalled and because my denomination is not its true self today. I am hurt by the prejudice we have deemed polity. And I am angry because I know the sadness and hurt I carry is a familiar feeling for so many other LGBTQ folks in The UMC who dare to keep dreaming. I join other rejected candidates, the ones who feel no choice but to leave, the clergy forced to live in the closet, the members who struggle with their place in their own denomination, and the queer clergy who have faced trials or have been defrocked solely because of who they are. I am angry that we continue to grow in number.”

According to the process outlined in the UM Book of Discipline, Barclay will have to meet again with the Austin District Committee on Ministry, which originally certified her as a candidate for ministry.

“Today is painful but it is not the end. I still dare to hope,” Barclay wrote. “As we continue to journey together on our church’s path to its true self by condemning its injustices, grieving the harm it causes, and following the guidance of the Spirit wherever she leads, we are living out the witness of our faith. This is our Christian task. This is our hope.”

Click here to read the full statement by Mary Ann Barclay.

SOURCE: The United Methodist Reporter

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