November 18, 1999 For Immediate Release
(Aftermath of Jimmy Creech's Second Trial)
Attached is a litany for use this Sunday from the General Conference Coalition. Please distribute this on webpages, e-mail discussion lists, by mail and hand delivery as you are able. We need the widest distribution in the shortest time. Grace and peace to you all in this time of pain, anger and struggle.
For the Coalition,
Greg Dell, Marilyn Alexander, and Kathryn Johnson
On Wednesday, November 17, 1999 in Grand Island, Nebraska, a Church Trial Court found the Rev. Jimmy Creech guilty of "disobedience to the Order and Discipline of the United Methodist Church." They rendered that verdict because Jimmy had conducted a service of Holy Union for two men. As penalty, the trial court removed Jimmy's clergy credentials.
In taking this action The United Methodist Church again inflicts injury on its own body. It not only dismisses a gifted, courageous, and faithful pastor; it also continues the spiritual violence of the church against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons. All of the body of Christ is wounded by such an injury. God grieves the church's sin and brokenness.
The General Conference Coalition of Affirmation, the Reconciling Congregation Program, The Methodist Federation for Social Action, and In All Things Charity invites our response in liturgy and action to what has taken place. With United Methodists across our denomination we share our repentance, need for healing, and commitment.
We come this day as a broken and wounded people.
In our pain we turn to God for healing and forgiveness.
One more expression of the church's violation of God's children is upon our hearts.
What we have done and what we failed to do enabled this injury. We have tolerated that which is intolerable: the rejection by our church of God's gift of love and dignity for part of our family.
In the midst of our hurt, our anger, our guilt we pray for God's forgiveness, for God's healing, for God's strength. We offer prayers for ourselves, for one another, for our brother Jimmy Creech, his wife Chris and their family, and for our church.
(Pray in silence)
Our prayers are not complete with silent or spoken thoughts and cries. If the desperately needed healing is to continue our prayers must also take the form of commitment and action. God's grace reaches out to us, to our world and to our church. But we must respond with our hearts and our lives.
Let those who are willing and able come forward to offer themselves for the work of justice, healing, and faithfulness to which God calls us in this critical time. (You are invited to come forward to receive the blessing of this gathering for your commitment If you are not able to come forward but wish to make this commitment please indicate you participation in a visible way possible for you.) Let those now gathered receive and extend this commitment and blessing.
We will not rest until this injury and sin is gone from our midst. From the cauldron of our tears, anger, hope, and faith, our commitment is born. Only by God's presence and power will that commitment be realized. Only by our action and support for one another will we be agents for that presence and power. We offer ourselves to be God's people for this time. May the Spirit be with us as we challenge the violence, the hatred, the ignorance and the injury within us and around us. So be it. Amen.
Those who wish to be part of the effort to change our denomination's discriminatory policies against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons are encouraged to contact "In All Things Charity" which is coordinating to cooperative efforts of the coalition.. IATC may be reached through its website: http://www.BrdwyUMC.org/IATC or by telephone at 773-935-9354.