West Ohio episcopal nominee and openly gay pastor, Rev. David W. Meredith, humbly and graciously withdrew his candidacy yesterday, July 13 after a historic, challenging, and encouraging run. Meredith, who is the pastor of Clifton UMC in Cincinnati, Oh. and Director of Urban Ministry for the Ohio River Valley District, said he was grateful to the Church for creating a place where he could proudly stand. 

Meredith’s significant run for episcopal office was a controversial yet encouraging decision in The United Methodist Church. After feeling a call from the Spirit during the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore., Meredith, who is an openly gay married pastor, felt led to launch his candidacy to serve the church as a bishop. 

“It assured me that I was of usefulness to the church. I was honored,” Meredith said of his nomination. 

Currently, in accordance with the Book of Discipline, The United Methodist Church does not allow gays or lesbians to serve as ordained clergy. Throughout the past two years, many openly gay clergy have come out before and after General Conference which has sparked controversy and conversations about unity amongst The United Methodist Church. 

Though Meredith’s run ended last night, he was encouraged and assured that “the Spirit has more in store for us as The United Methodist Church than we have ever imagined.” 

Photo: West Ohio episcopal nominee Rev. David W. Meredith during his withdrawal speech during the afternoon plenary session of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Peoria, Ill. on Wednesday, June 13. Photo taken by Dave Stuke, Communications Associate for the Dakotas Conference.