Complaints Filed Against Bishop Melvin G. Talbert


Bishop Stanovsky

DENVER – Complaints have been filed against Bishop Melvin G. Talbert alleging he has violated the sacred trust of his office.  Acting in accordance with United Methodist church law, a supervisory response has been initiated by Bishop Elaine Stanovsky of Denver.

The Council of Bishops requested that complaints be filed against Bishop Talbert, of Nashville, Tenn., after he performed an October wedding for two men in Alabama.  The bishop of the region, Debra Wallace-Padgett, had asked him not to perform the ceremony. The Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops also made this request.

Bishop Stanovsky, president of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops, has been assigned to guide the confidential supervisory process according to the provisions of the Church’s Book of Discipline. Bishop Talbert is a member of the Western Jurisdiction, where he served before his retirement in 2000. Church law requires that complaints against bishops be heard in the jurisdiction where the bishop is a member.

The supervisory response is a review of the bishop’s ministry which “shall be directed toward a just resolution” of the complaint. The supervisory team consists of two bishops working in consultation with one clergy and one lay member of the jurisdictional committee on episcopacy.

The supervisory team carefully maintains the confidentiality of the supervisory response, as guided by the Book of Discipline. “We find that confidentiality protects the integrity of the process and provides the best hope of the parties reaching a just resolution and offering healing to the Church,” Bishop Stanovsky said. “We need the whole Church to respect the supervisory process and uphold it in prayer.  Everyone involved takes their role very seriously and is working for a just, healing and faithful outcome.”

–– Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops


  1. Richard Thomas says

    Unbelievable. In this case they are stating up front that there will be no public trial and no real accountability. Note the “Just Resolution” terminology is the same as that employed with Ogletree. In that case they declared a “Just Resolution” even though those who brought the charges specifically disavow its outcome. Is it really that easy to side step the accountability processes of the Book of Discipline?

    • Agree. Those who are using the “just resolution” solution are certainly taking full and complete advantage of the generosity of the church to their one-sided, self-serving advantage. The just resolution approach was, of course, never intended for abuse and is there on the assumption that it will be used with honor and integrity. Notice with the Ogletree case that they emphasized that the NY Bishop followed the complaint process as spelled out in the Book of Discipline, even stating that ALL Bishops are BOUND by the United Methodist Book of Discipline to follow the complaint process. Their reasoning is bi-polar. If Bishops are BOUND by the BOD on the complaint process, then why are the not equally BOUND to follow it in its entirety, including the church’s definition of marriage and its ban on its ministers from performing same sex unions?

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