Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

The Methodists buck the trend:

Methodist pastors who have increasingly defied a church ban on marrying gays were dealt a setback Wednesday when a colleague was found guilty in a church trial of marrying a lesbian couple in 2009.

A 13-person jury of clergy peers unanimously convicted The Rev. Amy DeLong of Osceola. The jury found the 44-year-old not guilty of a second charge of being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” That vote was 12-1.

After the verdicts were announced Wednesday afternoon, church officials began hearing a second round of testimony to help jurors recommend a penalty that could range from suspension to defrocking. At least five DeLong supporters were scheduled to testify.

If they opt for suspension, it’s pretty clear that DeLong will do it again.

[The Rev. Bruce] Robbins, of the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, is one of several Methodist leaders across the country encouraging his colleagues to disobey the church ban on marrying gays. The efforts have gained momentum, as hundreds of pastors from areas including Illinois, Minnesota, New York and New England signed statements in recent weeks asserting their willingness to defy the rule.

And if DeLong does do it again and is eventually defrocked, one supposes that her “church,” probably a pretty liberal one since it employs a self-avowed lesbian, will defy Methodist authorities and keep her around.  Whereupon something like a slow-motion Methodist split will begin.

I don’t know what, if any, real estate implications there are with Methodist Church polity but it should be interesting to watch.

11 Comments to HOLDOUTS

June 22, 2011

Their duty to their sexual proclevities and to those like them is greater than their duty to God.

Matthew 7.21-23

June 22, 2011

Looky here, can we recommend our Realtor, KJS? She’s first rate at disposing of church property, and if you’re going to start trying to leave your denomination and take the church with you, why, she’s the most experienced church realtor around!

Grandpa Dino
June 22, 2011

The jury found the 44-year-old not guilty of a second charge of being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” That vote was 12-1.

What? According to the referenced article:

“DeLong said she told her supervisors years ago that she was in a lesbian relationship and felt comforted by the support and caring she received in response. She admitted later marrying the lesbian couple and said she was speaking out because she could no longer let protect the church’s policy. Church officials replied that their longstanding rules were clear.”

June 23, 2011

So the decision means that the United Methodists (or, not to tar the whole denomination with one brush, at least the ones involved in this case) are perfectly happy if you’re engaged in what we old-fashioned types quaintly refer to as “living in sin”, but try and get a blessing for that and you’re in trouble?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy they enforced church discipline, but I can see where the lady pastor got the wrong impression: she’s been living with her girlfriend for sixteen years and everyone was perfectly happy with that, but she does a church ceremony for a legally civilly-partnered couple who are in the same circumstances as she and her partner, and suddenly this is a bad thing?

June 23, 2011

Chris, remember that the Methodist church is the red-headed step-child of the Anglican church. There are many, many similarities between the two. One is that local church property ultimately belongs to the Conference, which is comparable to a diocese. It will be interesting to see how it plays out down the road.

Martial Artist
June 23, 2011

Well, all I can say about the Methodists, given this:

help jurors recommend a penalty that could range from suspension to defrocking

is that they are going to have to significantly broaden the array of penalties if they hope ever to challenge the Spanish Inquisition’s reputation for rigor. Their current range of choices is scarcely worth the cost of newsprint to report on the penalty. And I am not even mentioning thoroughness in dealing with all the known infractions!


Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

June 23, 2011

I will wait till a penalty’s been enforced before concluding that any meaningful discipline has happened. Maybe I’ve been jaded by Episcopalian experience, but I am half expecting a one-day suspension as punishment.

The Pilgrim
June 23, 2011

Had an interesting conversation with my retired Presbyterian minister father in law, his wife and their female pastor. All three are ready to walk out of the PCUSA, and the majority of the congregation is behind them.

June 23, 2011

If this was an Anglican diocese, you would call it the usual Fudge.

With Methodists, you call it Half-a**.

Jim the Puritan
June 23, 2011

If defrocked, she can always go to the PCUSA since unchastity, adultery and sexual immorality will be just fine and dandy starting July 10, 2011. Oh, and you don’t have to be obedient to the Word of God either.

June 24, 2011

Darn it, I was way off. She got a twenty day suspension.

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