Bishops file complaint over wedding

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — On Nov. 15 the United Methodist Council of Bishops announced that they plan to file a complaint against retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, Nashville, Tenn., who performed a wedding for two Alabama gay men.

Bishop Melvin G. Talbert
Bishop Melvin G. Talbert

The Associated Press reported that the council issued a statement “that it addressed the issue at its annual meeting this week in North Carolina. It said that it asked its president, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, to file the complaint against Talbert for ‘undermining the ministry of a colleague and conducting a ceremony to celebrate the marriage of a same gender couple.’”

Talbert performed the wedding against the objections of the local bishop and other leaders who said it “violated church law.”

In the wake of the situation, the council is exploring the formation of a task force to provide a forum for discussion on human sexuality, etc., as it relates to church’s mission and polity.

The religious ceremony between Joe Openshaw and Bobby Price was held on Oct.. 26 at the United Church of Christ’s Covenant Community Church. They had previously been legally married in Washington, D.C., in September.

Talbert, along with other Methodist same-sex marriage supporters, have “been encouraging their denomination to recognize gay marriages for years,” the AP added.

The Reconciling Ministries Network, which seeks to “create full inclusion” within the United Methodist Church, published a letter from the couple in response to the council’s actions. In it they said: “And we are two men who feel that their relationship has been blessed by God and that this blessing has been enhanced by our public wedding and by Bishop Talbert’s participation in our ceremony. … We believe in the sacred worth of all humanity, not just the straight ones.” To read the full text, visit


Christian conference approaches

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Gay Christian Network (GCN) will hold its 10th Annual CGN Conference, “Live It Out,” in Chicago, Ill., from Jan. 9-12, 2014.

The theme this year is inspired by 1 John 3:18 that says: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” It reminds one that living out faith means living out God’s love in all that is done, be it loving neighbors, praying for enemies or following Jesus’ example.

Practicing this in theory may be easy, but doing so requires that one practice what one preaches.

There will also be a “weconnect” women’s retreat prior to the start of the conference. It offers a unique conference experience to any female-identified attendee, with speakers, worship and an all-female praise band.

Speakers for the conference are: Rachel Held Evans, a best-selling author from Tennessee who has written about Christianity in the context of the Bible Belt; Rob and Linda Robertson, author of an article entitled “Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son” for The Huffington Post; Rev. Dr. Christine Wiley, who serves on the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s HIV/AIDS Commission; and Justin Lee, founder of GCN. Concerts will be presented by singer/songwriter Derek Webb and Bobby Jo Valentine, a designated Songwriter of the Year by the West Coast Songwriter’s Association. The retreat speaker will be Rev. Audrey Conner, who created the Easter Writing Project of the GLAD Alliance which lends a voice to those affected by homophobia through the Disciples of Christ.

Workshops include, but are not limited to: The Bible and Homosexuality; Support for Parents; Dating for Single Christians; Side B and Celibacy; Couples Communication; Prayer and Spiritual Growth; Responding to Homophobia; and Handling Depression.

A full schedule of activities is available online.

Registration for the conference and retreat is available online at a cost of $140 per person through Dec. 15, plus $25 for the retreat.

Volunteers are being sought to assist in all areas of the event. Commemorative T-shirts can be purchased for $15.

Host hotel is the Westin Chicago River North, 320 N. Dearborn St. Reservations are available online or by calling 888-627-8359. Rate are $119 per night.


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.