April 5, 2005
By Daniel R. Gangler*
(UMNS)—A United Methodist clergyman in Indiana faces a church trial as a
result of an investigative committee’s decision.
Rev. Larry Martin, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church,
Jeffersonville, Ind. has been charged with "immorality and sexual
harassment," chargeable offenses for ordained ministers.
Area Bishop Michael J. Coyner announced in mid-March that Martin’s
clergy trial has been set for May 19-21 at Trinity United Methodist
Church in New Albany, Ind.
was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Louisiana Conference in
1991. He served churches in Louisiana before transferring to the South
Indiana Conference in October 1997. At that time, he was appointed to
serve Wesley United Methodist Church in Jeffersonville. He was suspended
from the Wesley church in March because he’d been charged with
immorality and sexual harassment.
According to the 2004 Book of Discipline,
immorality includes but is not limited to "not being celibate in
singleness or not faithful in a heterosexual marriage." Sexual
harassment is described by the churchwide Commission on the Status and
Role of Women as "a continuum of behaviors that intimidate, demean,
humiliate or coerce." The definition is also noted in the church’s
resolution "Sexual Abuse Within Ministerial Relationships," which was
revised and readopted in 2004 for the Book of Resolutions.