Bishop rules lesbian clergy candidate can stay on ordination track

By Heather Hahn and Sam Hodges

San Antonio Area Bishop James E. Dorff on Dec. 12 reversed the removal of a lesbian clergy candidate, Mary Ann Barclay, from the ordination track.

Dorff said in his ruling that Barclay “remains a candidate for ministry and is due full examination, including an interview, by the (Southwest Texas Conference) Board of Ordained Ministry.”

Reached by phone, Barclay said, “I’m really pleased. I find hope in the fact that we can always correct the wrongs that we do. I hope The United Methodist Church will continue to move in that direction.”

In October, the Judicial Council — the denomination’s top court — decided that the bishop must rule within 60 days “on the merits” of a process-related question raised in the case.

The case stems from Barclay’s removal from the ordination process on the recommendation of her conference’s board of ordained ministry. Barclay — formerly Mary Ann Kaiser —is youth director and justice associate at University United Methodist Church in Austin and had been pursuing ordination as a United Methodist deacon.

Read the rest of the story at UM Communications.


Good News Response:

We are grateful that The United Methodist Church has fair processes in place that offer protection to clergy and lay members of the church from arbitrary or capricious actions. It is appropriate that the Southwest Texas Annual Conference follow these processes in examining the candidacy of Mary Ann Barclay for ordained ministry. At the same time, the fact that Ms. Barclay is an openly avowed lesbian and has “married” another woman means that she fits the definition of a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” This makes her ineligible to continue as a candidate or be ordained as a clergyperson in The United Methodist Church. We trust that the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and the clergy session of the annual conference will faithfully apply the relevant qualifications set by General Conference in determining Ms. Barclay’s continued eligibility for candidacy.


  1. Sad, very sad

  2. It’s unbelievable that clergy will allow and encourage people into such a destructive lifestyle, while maintaining the thought that they are pleasing God. What could be more cruel and unloving?

    I talked to an Episcopal bishop about 10 years ago about a similar situation. He had chosen to let a person continue in the ordination process. I was so shocked when I ask him if it was evil! He didn’t say it was just evil, but that is was “very evil”. I ask him how he could reconcile his position with bible. He admitted he could not, but said he was still “working on it”. So, he was trying to make the bible say whatever he wanted it to say. He had put from his mind that we are to be a holy people, set apart to belong to him and obey him. He suggested we meet in his office for more discussion. I passed. He graduated from a seminary, so he knows who or what he is a slave to. I don’t have to tell him. He already knew and was happy with that. They had better be careful:

    “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.” Proverbs 17:15

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