California Holy Union Service
Obedience to Jesus Christ; God's Good News of Love
Photo: Jeanne Barnett (left) and Ellie Charlton (right). Photo by Charles Jackson. Copyright: © 1999 St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, All Rights Reserved.
Five years ago, on Saturday, January 16, 1999, a service blessing the holy union of Ellie Charlton and Jeanne Barnett, a lesbian couple, was performed by The Rev. Donald Fado, pastor of St. Mark's United
Methodist Church of Sacramento. He was joined by 150 clergy, including those who co-officiated "in absentia" and ecumenical representatives. Read the ongoing news about the "Sacramento 68" and the aftermath of the Committee on Investigation's decision of February 2000.
News and Features
Note: Many of the stories were once on web. If the page has gone from the web, we have left the unlinked references for historical purposes.
- Fifth Anniversary Celebration Reflections by Don Fado, January 18, 2004.
"A Fifth Anniversary Festival Celebration of the Holy Union of Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton" was held at St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Sacramento, California on January 17, 2004.
- Fifth Anniversary Celebration Presentation by Ellie Charlton, January 17, 2004.
- Affirmation Newsletter, Fall 2003 (PDF Format, 469K).
The newsletter contains tributes and reminiscences of Jeanne Barnett. Note: The free Adobe Acrobat® Reader must be installed on your computer to read PDF files.
- Affirmation Mourns the Loss of Jeanne Barnett, but Her Work Lives On, Affirmation, October 27, 2003.
- Honoring one who stood up by Anita Creamer, Sacramento Bee, October 13, 2003. (Link opens in new window.)
- Personal Reflections on "THE" Holy Union in The United Methodist Church, An Affirmation Interview with Ellie Charlton, March 2003.
- St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Sacramento, CA
- Complaints against Bishop Talbert dismissed, August 30, 2000.
- Complaint Filed Against Bishop Melvin Talbert, Confessing Movement, April 19, 2000.
- Complaint Filed Against Bishop Talbert, UMNS, April 20, 2000.
- Pastoral Letter About the Sacramento 68 Decision by Judith Stone, one of the Sacto 68.
- Interview with the Reverend Don Fado (Sacramento 68), PBS Frontline.
- "The Gay Divide: Churches, synagogues address interpretations of the Bible, gender roles and same-sex unions," by Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2000..
- Confessing Movement Response to California/Nevada Decision to Bring No Charges Against 68 Pastors, February 15, 2000.
It is our deep conviction that Bishop Melvin Talbert, the leadership of the California/Nevada Conference, and the 68 pastors who performed the same-sex union have broken covenant with their colleagues in the rest of United Methodism.
- Response to Cal/Nevada's Dismissal of Complaints Against 68 Clergy Involved in Same-sex Covenant, Good News, February 14, 2000
United Methodists were stunned and angered Friday at the announcement that the Committee on Investigation of the California/Nevada Annual Conference had dismissed complaints against Rev. Don Fado and 67 other clergy....
- Methodist Clergy At Gay 'Wedding' Won't Be Punished San Francisco Chronicle, February 12, 2000
"I'm proud to be a United Methodist today. Today, you're seeing the church at its best," said Alan Jones, director of the San Francisco United Methodist Mission.
- "Clerics won't be booted after controversial union," Fresno Bee, February 12, 2000
Relief arrived for Victor McLane in the form of an $11.75 Express Mail envelope. That's how the retired Fresno minister and 67 other United Methodist clerics learned Friday that they won't be tried or booted from the denomination for defying a church rule by participating in the 1999 "holy union" of a lesbian couple in Sacramento.
- "67 clerics escape trial by church: Methodist clergy blessed lesbian union," Sacramento Bee, February 12, 2000.
- "Reconciling Congregation Board Responds to California-Nevada Conference Decision on "Sacramento 68", RCP, February 11, 2000.
- Cal-Nevada ministers won't stand trial, committee decides, UMNS, February 11, 2000.
- Church Investigative Committee Refuses to Charge 67 Clergy , IATC, February 11, 2000.
- Official copy of the Committee on Investigation's decision and Bishop Melvin Talbert's statement about the Sacramento 68.
- Ministers won't face trial -- Same-sex ceremonies still debated among Methodists Fairfield Daily Republic, February 11, 2000
- No Trials for CA Methodist Clergy , PlanetOut, February 11, 2000
The statewide lobby group California Alliance for Pride & Equality's (CAPE) co-chair Esther Lee ... said, "Voters in California can see that 68 members of the clergy were willing to puttheir jobs on the line to support their own personal belief that lesbian and gay relationships deserve recognition from their church, their church leaders, and from the state of California.
- "Methodists Drop Gay Wedding Case," Associated Press, February 11, 2000
- "Charges dismissed against 67 ministers," Sacramento Bee, February 11, 2000
- Oral Statement Given to the Committee on Investigation by Don Fado
- Clergy on both sides of holy union issue affirm hearing process, UMNS, February 7, 2000.
- Methodists Divided on Gay Rights: Church leaders anguish over same-sex unions, San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2000
No one mentioned the word "schism," but it was on the minds of many well-meaning Methodists who gathered this week to find a way out of a gay rights stalemate that is tearing their church apart.
- Cal-Nevada panel ends hearing in same-sex union case, UMNS, February 4, 2000
- Clergy defends same-sex blessing , Fairfield Daily Republic, February 3, 2000
A contemporary worship, including a little dancing in the
aisles, opened the third, and final day of hearings for the United
Methodist ministers who blessed a lesbian union last year.
- Retired local pastor to testify, Fairfield Daily Republic, February 2, 2000
This 83-year-old Fairfield resident is one of the 67 respondents involved in the "holy union" hearings at Community United Methodist Church. This afternoon he will be given five minutes to tell his story.
- Hearings focus on updating Scripture, Fairfield Daily Republic, February 2, 2000
Scripture, and its interpretation, took center stage Wednesday at the second day of hearings for United Methodist ministers who blessed a lesbian "marriage" in Sacramento last year.
- Yahoo! Poll Results
The clergy should be disciplined: 54%, 5553 votes
The clergy shouldn't be disciplined 45% 4623 votes
- Disciplinary Hearing on Lesbian Blessing, San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2000
But the Rev. Phyllis Bird, a professor of Old Testament studies at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, said in her testimony that the Bible cannot be seen as a moral guidebook to judge today's homosexuals. Bird said the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, often cited by opponents of gay rights, is "pre-ethical and irrational."
- "Holy union' hearings begin, Fairfield Daily Republic, February 1, 2000.
On the front page was a photo of Jimmy Creech; he is quoted in the story. For more of his story, click here.
- Church considers punishing ministers who presided over lesbian wedding, AP, February 1-2, 2000 ( also here and here).
A lesbian couple whose union was blessed by dozens
of United Methodist Church ministers told church investigators Tuesday that
the pastors should be praised, not punished.
- "Ministers to defend gay 'holy union,'" San Jose Mercury News
Several local Methodist pastors will be among the 67 who appear in Fairfield beginning today to defend themselves against complaints after they officiated in the "holy union" of a lesbian couple in Sacramento in January 1999.
- 'Sacramento 68' Investigation Open Hearing: How You Can Be Supportive (Happened February 1-4, 2000)
- "Church hearings on same-sex union: Fate of 67 pastors hangs in balance," Sacramento Bee, January 17, 2000.
- "Upcoming hearing to set ministers' fate for defying policy," San Franciso Examiner, January 16, 2000.
- "Year Later, No Lesbian Wedding Flap," AP article at The Washington Post, January 16, 2000.
- With great respect, gratitude and love, Congratulations!, San Rafael First United Methodist Church's page for the Holy Union (nice graphical adaption of CORNET's images and music)
- California Holy Union-Sacramento 68 Archives: 1998-99
- See also: Good News' Homosexuality News Page (unofficial UM group opposing covenant services and full inclusion of gay and lesbian people).
Committee on Investigations Manuscripts and Transcripts
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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, Affirmation radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church as we journey with the Spirit in creating God's beloved community. We affirm a Gospel of respect, love, justice and mercy for all. Affirmation is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.
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Key to Acronyms: CM=Confessing Movement, CORNET=Covenant Relationships Network, GN=Good News, RCP=Reconciling Congregation Program, UMC=The United Methodist Church, UMNS=United Methodist News Service, UMR=United Methodist Reporter
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