September 23, 1999
PRESS RELEASE FROM JIMMY CREECH
Omaha, NE - Bishop Joel N. Martinez of the Nebraska United Methodist Annual Conference has announced that a charge against me has been referred to trial by the Committee on Investigation. I have been charged with disobedience to the Order and Discipline of the United Methodist Church for celebrating the Holy Union of two men, Larry Ellis and Jim Raymer, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on April 24, 1999.
This is an unfortunate decision. It is not in the best interest of The United Methodist for this trial to take place. The trial will be an act of violence against lesbian, bisexual and gay persons, and a betrayal of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and all who participate in it will be complicit. It also will be a waste of resources (money, time, energy and personnel) that should be used otherwise in positive, helpful ministries to people in need in the world.
The celebration of love and commitment between two people is a profound and particular embodiment of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If I am found guilty by a trial court, then The Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church is in conflict with this gospel. It is arrogance on the part of the church to elevate some people's relationship with God, while denigrating that of others, on the basis of innate sexuality. This arrogance is evil, comparable to racism.
The consequences of this arrogance are spiritual, psychological, social and physical violence against gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, their families and friends, and a profaned witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I regret the Nebraska Annual Conference has chosen to take this action against me. The trial will more deeply mire The United Methodist Church into the sludge of bigotry and legalism. How can such an encumbered church witness to the grace of God?