On October 26, 2013, retired Bishop Melvin Talbert conducted a ceremony celebrating the marriage of a same-gender couple in Center Point, Alabama. He conducted this ceremony contrary to the request of both Bishop Wallace-Padgett, bishop of North Alabama, and the executive committee of the Council of Bishops. At its November meeting, the Council requested “that Bishop Wenner, President of the Council of Bishops, and Bishop Wallace-Padgett file a complaint for undermining the ministry of a colleague (Discipline ¶2702.1f) and conducting a ceremony to celebrate the marriage of a same gender couple (¶2702.1b).” At its January executive committee meeting, the bishops heard a report that “Bishop Wenner and Bishop Wallace-Padgett are in the process of complying with the request of the Council concerning retired Bishop Melvin Talbert.”
It is Good News’ understanding that a supervisory process has been initiated with Bishop Talbert, with Bishop Elaine Stanovsky superintending that process on behalf of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops. The college has requested that the supervisory process be confidential. It is Good News’ understanding that, in order for a supervisory process to begin, a complaint or complaints must be filed. Therefore, we conclude that complaint(s) covering the two chargeable offenses have been filed by Bishops Wenner and Wallace-Padgett.
Good News believes that, for the good of the church, this process must go forward with maximum transparency. At the very least, the fact that complaint(s) have been filed and any eventual resolution of such complaint(s) should be announced to the church. The public nature of the offenses, announced in advance and well covered by the media, requires a similarly public response from the church (see I Timothy 5:19-20). Such transparency is needed to help church members have confidence that the bishops have kept their promise to uphold the Discipline and hold each other accountable. Good News is following this situation closely and will keep readers informed as to its outcome.