Methodist Church Drops Case Against Minister Who Performed Gay Son’s Wedding

ogelby-HEAD-sm A prominent United Methodist pastor who officiated at his gay son’s wedding will no longer face a church trial. Reverend Thomas Ogletree, retired dean of Yale Divinity School, was set to be tried for violating the church’s ban on performing same-sex weddings. But this week the New York bishop said the case against Ogletree has been “resolved” by mutual agreement. He also called for an end to all such trials, saying they divided the church. The settlement does not require Ogletree to stop performing same-sex marriages or to acknowledge wrongdoing. Conservative Methodists criticized the bishop’s decision, saying church law is being ignored.

  • Rev. Dr. William S. Shillady

    Please be aware that the charges and case were not dropped. Unfortunately, a few people have misrepresented what a just resolution agreement is within the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline. A statement of clarification was posted on the New York Annual Conference website.
    It states

    There has been some confusion and inaccurate reporting following the March 10 press conference announcing the Just Resolution in the case of Dr. Thomas Ogletree. The following will hopefully clarify the terms and outcome of the Just Resolution in the case of Dr. Ogletree.

    First, the charges against Dr. Ogletree were not “dropped.” Rather they were “resolved” by a just resolution process as outlined in the United Methodist Book of Discipline. The judge of the court, Bishop Clifton Ives, accepted the agreement between the Church and Dr. Ogletree as provided by United Methodist law.

    Secondly, this Just Resolution applies to this case only and not to all present or future cases. The Statement by Bishop McLee seeks a new way forward by calling for a non-juridical process for resolving complaints against those performing same-gender weddings in favor of “theological, spiritual and ecclesiastical conversation.” This does not equate to a blanket dismissal-in-advance of every complaint filed against those performing same-gender weddings.

    Thirdly, every Bishop is bound by the United Methodist Book of Discipline to follow the complaint process, which has a clear preference for just resolution over church trials. Bishop McLee will continue to follow the “Administrative Fair Process” as described in Paragraph 363 in the Book of Discipline which outlines the steps of the complaint process, just as he did in the Ogletree case.

    We continue to pray as this journey toward what some describe as “a better United Methodist Church” continues.

    The case and the just resolution agreement become part of Dr. Ogletree’s personnel file.

    Rev. Dr. William S. Shillady
    Secretary of the Trial Court