Skip to content

US Methodist church appoints openly lesbian bishop

Printer-friendly version

The western jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church has appointed its first bishop who is openly in a same-sex relationship, contrary to the church’s teaching.

Pastor Karen Oliveto of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, in San Francisco, USA, is ‘married’ to another woman. She was consecrated last Saturday at the regional conference held outside  Phoenix, Arizona.

The event has increased tensions within the global Methodist congregation of almost 13 million, amidst talks to decide on whether to approve same-sex ‘marriage’.

Unlawful appointment

The United Methodist church does not ordain “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals”. However, some bishops have overlooked this restriction on a technicality that some non-celibate candidates for ordination who are in same-sex relationships have not “self-avowed” their sexual practices.

This makes the appointment of Pastor Oliveto unlawful according to the church’s teaching.

Pastor Oliveto has reportedly promoted Planned Parenthood and previously pastored a church that served as an illegal medical marijuana dispensary.

In remarks published on the UMC website she said: “Today we took a step closer to embody beloved community and while we may be moving there, we are not there yet. We are moving on to perfection.”


United Methodist Action Director John Lomperis described the action by the Western Jurisdiction as “fundamentally schismatic”.

“We urge faithful United Methodists upset by this news to stay and work for accountability, remember that this election is being challenged, share their concerns with their pastors, and remember that such radical actions only

represent a minority, who we should not let abuse and take over our great denomination.

“We urge United Methodist pastors to assure their congregations of how they are supporting the work of UM Action, the Wesleyan Covenant Association, and others seeking accountability. We urge orthodox bishops to offer public leadership.”

Other denominations and same-sex 'marriage'

The current discussions within the Methodist church about same-sex ‘marriage’ are also taking place within other denominations, including the Church of England.

Christian Concern recently exhibited at the CofE’s General Synod gathering in York, to speak of Jesus Christ and to create discussion on what the Bible says about marriage.

This was achieved through highlighting Jesus' teaching on marriage on large banners and on 'pledge' cards.

These 'pledge' cards were available for members of synod to sign, highlighting Matthew 19 and the Book of Common Prayer's marriage solemnization, both of which state marriage is between a man and a woman.

Christian Concern’s response to Synod

After the synod, Christian Concern’s Chief Executive Andrea Williams, and Wilberforce Director Dr Joe Boot issued a statement refuting the ‘shared conversations’ that took place during the event.

They said:

“The outcome of the shared conversations was as many predicted; confusion, frustration, disappointment and division. The paucity of the biblical argument to support anything other than that of the Orthodox and presently held position was ignored. It was replaced by a simple appeal to secular norms.

“At a time when what the church needs is clear leadership and biblical clarity we are confronted with the hand-wringing of leading bishops, with head shakes and hand-waving at the Christian Concern booth as though Jesus’ own words from the New Testament on Christian Concern banners in the lobby were offensive. Traditionally orthodox bishops are now refusing to 'state their position' and the rudder of the ship is being steered in the wrong direction.”

The Anglican Church of Canada has also earlier this month approved same-sex ‘marriage’. 



Subscribe to our emails