November 1, 1999 For Immediate Release


Coalition Responds to Trial of Jimmy Creech

Grand Island, NE (November 17) We grieve for the church we love. The action of removing the ministerial orders of the Rev. Jimmy Creech is a travesty of justice and a violation of the integrity of the ministry of the church. The second trial of the Rev. Jimmy Creech points once again to the need to change the discriminatory policies of the United Methodist Church toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. While the jury of thirteen Nebraska Annual Conference clergy found Jimmy guilty of disobeying the Order and Discipline of the United Methodist Church, the world finds the church guilty of upholding a law that continues to wound many in its very pews as well as in society.

In the wake of the trial, a coalition of four United Methodist groups - Affirmation, In All Things Charity, Methodist Federation for Social Action and Reconciling Congregation Program - encourages church members to take action against this and other unjust policies of the church through the legislative process of General Conference. We are saddened that during this time -- from today until the session convenes on May 2, 2000-- the United Methodist Church will continue to inflict grave harm to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons through its discriminatory policies and actions. We grieve the lost opportunity to witness to God's love and compassion.

The coalition has formed a sub-committee to develop legislative strategy and a plan of communication with General Conference delegates. Persons interested in participating in this effort can contact the coalition through In All Things Charity.

Our support of the inclusion of all people in the life of the church is rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fed by the Spirit's insistence that we share the message of God's powerful love. This calling is primary to living out what it means to be a Christian disciple. Until gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons are brought into full participation in the life of the church, the world has great reason to question the integrity of the church's message, to ask, "Does Jesus truly love all the little children?" We have a great cloud of witnesses waiting for an answer.

A significant issue at the center of the church's struggle with sexual orientation is the character of the United Methodist Church. Historically as a denomination we have pursued dialogue in the midst of our differences. We have not been a denomination of rigid legalism. Church trials have been reserved for those cases in which injuries to persons could not be redressed by other means. We have not insisted on doctrinal or liturgical conformity. The genius of the diversity of our denomination is threatened in this struggle.

The coalition consists of the following groups and contacts:

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns
The Rev. Dr. Jeanne Knepper, (503-760-4215)

CORNET (Covenant Relationships Network, United Methodist Church)
The Rev. Dr. Jeanne Knepper, (503-760-4215)

In All Things Charity
The Rev. Gregory Dell, (773-935-9354)

Methodist Federation for Social Action
The Rev. Kathryn Johnson, (202-546-8806)

Reconciling Congregation Program
Ms. Marilyn Alexander, (773-736-5526)
The Rev. Dr. Gayle Felton, (919-489-3242)


More information about Jimmy Creech, including over 50 news articles about him, is at: