November 14, 1999 For Immediate Release


United Methodist Church Goes on Trial

November 17 - 18, 1999 in Grand Island Nebraska

Clergy will continue to be called by God to defy this unjust law

When the Rev. Jimmy Creech stands in front of a jury of his peers on November 17, he will be facing The United Methodist Church for the second time in two years over the issue of equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people in the life of the church, and the ability of clergy to provide care and support for their entire congregation.

Although the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church say that sexuality is a gift from God and all people are of worthy of God's grace, the Social Principles also forbid United Methodist clergy from performing "homosexual unions."

The Order and Discipline of the Church is in conflict with the gospel of Jesus Christ

In response to the charges against him, the Rev. Creech replied, "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."

Bigotry requires accountability

This arrogance places The United Methodist Church in a position of defending its bigotry that causes spiritual violence against GLBT individuals and the clergy who will continue to be called to conduct these ceremonies. The Rev. Creech will not have council, nor will he call witnesses. To do so would validate the unjust law for which The United Methodist Church must be held accountable. Hundreds of UM clergy around the country will continue to hold the church accountable, and are pledging to celebrate holy unions, despite of the outcome of this trial. Several retired clergy in New England have just released a statement to this effect, joining with hundreds of others who have signed "In All Things Charity".

We will not be silent

Although The United Methodist Church is convening this trial in a remote part of Nebraska, defenders of equality and justice are coming to Grand Island from all over the United States to be witnesses to the love of God, the sanctity of the covenant between two people, and the fact that this issue is not going to go away. People from within the denomination, as well as 100 members of Soulforce, an organization that bases its principles on relentless non-violent direct action as taught by Jesus, Gandhi and King, will be in Grand Island conducting non-violent civil disobedience to draw attention to the spiritual violence of UM Church against GLBT individuals, both inside and outside the denomination. In addition, prayer vigils will be taking place in San Francisco, Chapel Hill NC, Washington DC, Sacramento CA, Oklahoma City, Madison WI, Bloomington IN, Saratoga CA, Chicago, and New York City.

Reporters invited as witnesses

The night before the trial, the Rev. Creech will be renewing the ceremony he performed for Larry Ellis and Jim Raymer. Larry and Jim, members of the United Church of Christ, will exchange vows once again as a witness to the world of their love and commitment to each other and to God. Reporters are invited to witness this historic ecumenical event to document that the love two people have for one another is a sacred gift from God and deserves to be sanctified and blessed by the church, rather than the basis of its arrogance and bigotry. This ceremony will take place at the Holiday Inn Midtown in Grand Island Nebraska at 7pm on November 16, followed by a press conference at the same location. The trial will begin on Wednesday morning at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Additional information and complete press kits are available at

Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt, Media Coordinator for the Rev. Creech
Office: 717-627-7180 After 7pm CST 11/16 - cell: (949) 233-3592

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