May 11, 2000

Trumpet

Three More Clergy Announce Plans to Celebrate Same Gender Covenant Service


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NEBRASKA CONFERENCE CLERGY CHALLENGE CHURCH POLICY ON HOLY UNIONS

   Cleveland - A clergyman in the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church announced today that he plans to perform a union ceremony for two men in Omaha, Nebraska on June 3, 2000. The announcement came on the day in which the General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to maintain the prohibition against minister conducting same sex union ceremonies.

   The Reverend Mark Roland Kemling, an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, stated that he had agreed earlier this year to perform the ceremony. At least two other clergy in the Nebraska Conference have agreed to stand with him during the ceremony, to offer their support.

   "I was greatly disappointed that The United Methodist Church would decide to continue its discriminatory policies," stated Rev. Kemling. "It is my belief that we should be extending the full ministry of the church to all people, no matter of who they love."

   United Methodist Church policy prohibits ministers from performing union ceremonies of couples of the same sex. Rev. Jimmy Creech, who was also from Nebraska, was recently defrocked for celebrating a union ceremony for two men.

   "I am performing this covenant between two people who love one another because I am called to be in ministry with all people," declared Rev. Kemling. "Change doesn't come without conflict. The church is discriminating against loving relationships, and I need to stand up for the integrity of my beliefs. This issue isn't settled yet."

Media Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt 717-627-7180

See also: Mark Kemling: Statement of Commitment Testimony

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