Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998
The Church trial of the Rev. Jimmy Creech has been set for March 11-13, 1998. The trial will take place at First United Methodist Church in Kearney, Nebraska. The Rev. Creech has made the decision that this will be an open trial. Supporting The Vision welcomes you to come to the trial.
Bishop Leroy Hodapp (retired) of Evansville, Indiana will be the presiding officer (judge). A jury of thirteen Nebraska United Methodist clergy will decide guilt or innocence, and penalty, in case of guilty verdict. The Nebraska United Methodist Conference Cabinet selected the jury pool of 35 clergy, representing all eight districts in Nebraska. The trial will begin with jury selection. The prosecution (The Church) will then begin, followed by the defense (Rev. Creech).
The charge against Rev. Creech is "disobedience of the Order and Discipline of the United Methodist Church" for: 1) "conducting a homosexual union" and 2) "exceeding the bounds set by General Conference" by conducting a "ritual" outside the "form and mode of worship" of the United Methodist Church.
Rev. Creech is represented by a counsel, Rev. Doug Williamson of Nebraska Wesleyan, and by assistant counsel, Mike McClellan, attorney and member of First United Methodist Church.
If Rev. Creech is found guilty, he may appeal to two levels: the jurisdictional level and the Council of Bishops. A Jurisdictional Court of Appeals (which already exists) will be convened to hear the case. The hearing occurs within 120 days of notice to the committee. If Rev. Creech disagrees with that decision, he has the right to appeal to the Judicial Council (which meets in October 1998.) "The appellate body shall determine two questions only: 1) Does the weight of the evidence sustain the charge or charges? and 2) Were there such errors of Church law as to vitiate the verdict and/or penalty?" There are no witnesses allowed in the appeals hearings. The appellate body may reverse in part or whole the findings of the previous body, may remand the case for new trial, or may determine what penalty may be imposed.
A defense fund has been set up to help cover the costs of the trial, including the costs of individuals asked to testify from around the country on the behalf of Rev. Creech. Methodist Federation for Social Action is managing
the funds. We would greatly appreciate an offering or donations from individuals in your congregations. Checks may be made out to MFSA, and sent