|Along with health concerns, ex-bishop faces complaint|
By United Methodist News Service
Sept. 24, 2009
Less than two weeks after the Rev. Edward W. Paup resigned as top
executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, his
bishop acknowledged that her office is investigating a complaint that
he “had violated the sacred trust of ordination.”
The Rev. Edward W. Paup resigned Sept. 1 as top executive of the Board of Global Ministries. A UMNS file photo by
Denver Area Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky disclosed the investigation in a letter
posted on the Rocky Mountain Annual (regional) Conference’s Web site.
She said it was clear there was a growing awareness of the allegations,
and she wanted to share information about the process “rather than
letting rumor and misinformation go unchecked.”
She did not reveal details of the allegations against Paup, an ordained elder in the conference.
In a telephone interview, Paup, 63, would not address
the complaint directly. But he said Sept. 15: “As a bishop of the
church, I had to make some difficult decisions that created political
enemies.” He declined to elaborate on what those decisions or who those
Complainants reached by United Methodist News Service also declined to comment. They requested anonymity.
Stanovsky declined to comment on any details related to
the complaint, saying she is going to “protect the process so it can be
fair and deliberative.”
The bishop said she issued the Sept. 11 letter after monitoring the
amount of rumor and speculation circulating about the complaint.
Bishop Elaine J. W. Stanovsky
Throughout the past year, people have asked her
whether there is a complaint against Paup, though the complaint had not
been widely known in the Rocky Mountain Conference until recently, she
said. Someone did make a comment in the conference’s clergy session
this summer that raised questions as to whether there might be a
complaint, she said.
Paup’s health and recent resignation from the board
also have raised questions about a possible complaint, according to the
She thought it “would ease anxiety within the
conference and across the church if we published what we could without
breaking confidentiality,” she said. She cited the Book of Discipline’s
Paragraph 361e, which gives bishops discretion to share information
that helps the church heal if a complaint has caused “significant
“I think any time there’s a lack of information and a lot of speculation, it does harm,” Stanovsky said.
Stanovsky would not comment specifically on a possible
church trial. “Just resolution is possible at any point in the
process,” she said.
At least one complaint was initiated against Paup in
April 2008. Paup was a bishop of the church at the time, leading the
Seattle Area, so the complaint was placed with the Western Jurisdiction
College of Bishops.
The Book of Discipline requires letters of complaint against a bishop
to be filed with the college president. Since Paup was president, the
complaint was submitted to Bishop Mary Ann Swenson in her role as
Paup is congratulated by Bishop Joel Martínez following Paup's election
in March 2008 as chief executive of the denomination's mission agency.
A UMNS file photo by Cassandra Heller.
Paup had served as Swenson’s assistant prior to his
election as bishop in 1996. “I did not think there was any conflict of
interest on my part” in handling the complaint, Swenson told United
Methodist News Service.
The Book of Discipline states that the secretary and
another member of the college, in consultation with a lay and clergy
member of the jurisdictional committee on episcopacy, shall make a
supervisory response in cases involving a complaint against a bishop.
Swenson said she dismissed the complaint against Paup
by June or July of 2008. “I don’t have any evidence in my mind that
would make me think Rev. Paup had done anything egregious,” she said.
That September, Paup became the top staff executive of
the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. However, he was no
longer a bishop, having resigned from the episcopacy effective Aug. 31.
With his resignation as bishop, he was now accountable to the Rocky
Mountain Annual (regional) Conference, where he had his clergy
A few months after Swenson dismissed the complaint,
Stanovsky, the newly appointed leader of the Rocky Mountain Conference,
reopened the matter based on new information she had received.
Paup lasted exactly one year in his role at the Board
of Global Ministries before resigning Sept. 1. Bishop Bruce Ough,
agency president, said Paup had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and
was leaving for medical reasons.
Bishop Joel N. Martínez is serving as interim general secretary of the board while a search committee works on filling the post.
Ough told United Methodist News Service that while some
concerns had arisen over leadership issues, the complaint did not play
a role in the acceptance of Paup’s resignation.
“There was a general awareness within the personnel committee that
there was a complaint in process, but it was not a factor in our
decision,” he said.
In her Sept. 11 letter, Stanovsky said Paup “has given
permission to share that he is still undergoing testing and does not
yet have a prognosis. At this time they are treating the tumor as
At the conclusion of her pastoral letter, Stanovsky asked for prayer for all involved.
News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishop Martínez becomes interim mission leader
Top executive resigns from Board of Global Ministries
Mission leader takes medical leave
Bishop Stanovsky’s letter
Rocky Mountain Annual Conference
Board of Global Ministries
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