News Archives

Indiana pastor will undergo church trial May 19


Indiana pastor will undergo church trial May 19

April 5, 2005

By Daniel R. Gangler*

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS)—A United Methodist clergyman in Indiana faces a church trial as a result of an investigative committee’s decision.

The Rev. Larry Martin, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church, Jeffersonville, Ind. has been charged with "immorality and sexual harassment," chargeable offenses for ordained ministers.

Indiana 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.

Martin 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.