Pastor who came out to congregation steps down to avoid conflict with church

EDGERTON, Kan. -- A metro reverend gave her final sermon Sunday after she came out to her congregation earlier this year.

Bishop Scott Jones of the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church brought charges against Reverend Cynthia Meyer in an effort to remove her from the pulpit after she served the United Methodist Church for nearly 26 years.

"This is one of those kinds of sermons that in some ways I say I've been working on all my life. And it was just pulling it together. But primarily I wanted to remind the congregation of God's great faithfulness to us," said Meyer.

Eight months ago, Reverend Meyer came forward about her sexuality. It was a decision met with mixed reactions in the community.

While some people chose to leave the church after her announcement, others supported her courage.

Chuck Davis is part of the committee which interviews and hires church leadership. He said when they hired Reverend Meyer, they were looking for someone open to becoming more inclusive.

"There is a core group here at the church that feels like the Methodist Church needs to change its opinion on pastors. We say we are all-inclusive, as long as you are not a pastor," said Davis.

On Sunday, nearly 80 people filled the congregation, several wearing name tags to show their support. "We hoped we would never come to this Sunday, when I was leaving because I was no longer allowed to serve at the church in this way," said Meyer.

The final decision came two weeks ago when Meyer agreed to give up her duties and go on involuntary leave to avoid a church trial.

Meyer hopes to eventually work in the church again. She is also looking at possible work in a service agency or nonprofit.