MIND statement on Thompson Tweedy prosecution
On Monday, July 8, MIND informed its members that Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy is facing a possible church trial on the charge that she is a “self-avowed practicing homosexual,” a chargeable offense in the United Methodist Book of Discipline. A complaint was filed against her earlier this year, and following a just resolution process that failed, Bishop McLee referred the case to counsel for the church (the equivalent of a prosecutor) to formally investigate and determine whether there is evidence to substantiate the complaint, and if so, whether to file charges and initiate a church trial.
Thompson Tweedy informed Memorial UMC members, where she preaches once a month and has been an integral community member, of the complaint on Sunday, July 7. The MIND announcement followed. MIND did not intend for the news to travel beyond the New York Annual Conference and had not sought outside publicity, but the Do you MIND?? newsletter announcement was picked up elsewhere, and United Methodist News Service covered the story, as did at least one blog.
MIND issued the following statement:
It is an outrage that anyone should be prosecuted simply for being who God created them to be. Even as the Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed that lesbians and gay men are entitled to the equal protection of the law and unprecedented progress has been made towards LGBTQ rights in civil society, the UMC seems hellbent on moving backwards towards 1692 rather than forwards into the 21st century.
Sara Thompson Tweedy is a gifted preacher, a member of the MIND steering committee and longtime advocate for LGBTQ justice. Sara has lived a life of integrity, first in parish ministry and now in extension ministry as the dean of student development services at SUNY Sullivan. She has never denied who God created her to be, and she has never denied her family. The New York Annual Conference, rooted in its longstanding opposition to the UMC's prejudice and discrimination against LGBTQ people, ordained her, choosing to recognize her gifts and honor the Discipline's inclusive and justice-affirming intents over its contradictory punitive, unjust exclusionary rules. We hope and trust that the conference will continue to affirm her ministry now.
The full strength of MIND's resources is behind Sara. She is not alone: her wonderful family, the entire Memorial UMC community and MIND's hundreds of members all stand with her.