Continued Prayers for Beth Stroud Urged

Affirmation Co-spokesperson Urges Continued Prayers for Beth Stroud
and All Affected by Her Trial

For Immediate Release (11/28/04)

"Beth Stroud has acknowledged the prayers for her and her partner,
and tonight especially asked for prayers for her defense counsel and
the clergy and administrative staff of FUMCOG, her church. I would
add that I believe we need to focus prayer on all who will be
affected by this trial," urged Peggy R. Gaylord, Co-Spokesperson of
National Affirmation, following the Nov. 28th Sunday evening worship
service at First United Methodist Church of Germantown, PA.

The service was held to support the Rev. Irene Elizabeth "Beth"
Stroud as she prepares for the December 1st United Methodist clergy
trial to respond to a charge that she has violated church law by
being a "self-avowed practicing homosexual." Two members of the
National Affirmation Council attended the worship along with many
members of FUMCOG, family, friends, supporters, and representatives
of other organizations.

Gaylord described some highlights of the service in addition to the
musical performers and the confirmation class sharing their love of
Beth. "As the service progressed, Beth shared a few thoughts with
us. One thing she admitted was that it is difficult to believe that
she will come out of the trial with her credentials intact, though
she would never rule out the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.
Neither should we! She concluded by sharing that, for the last
eighteen months, she has been what she never believed she could be:
an openly lesbian, fully-credentialed pastor in the United Methodist
Church. The congregation stood to applaud her for several minutes."

"As the communion service started, I'm sure many of us were solemnly
aware that this might be the last time that Beth would preside over
this ritual. A few minutes later she stumbled over the words, caught
herself, and paused--in a moment she spoke: 'This could potentially
be the last time and I do it wrong....(the congregation laughed, and
she continued)... Rejoice!' We will continue to rejoice in the gifts
and graces for ministry of Beth Stroud regardless of the Church's
determination in this week's trial."

Three members of the National Affirmation Council will be present at
the trial beginning Dec. 1, 2004, joining in the vigil for Beth
Stroud: Jim Palmquist, Rev. Vivian R. Waltz, and Rev. Peggy R.
Gaylord. Updates (and related information) will be available through

Contact information:
Peggy R. Gaylord, Co-Spokesperson
home: 607-723-4091 or cell: 607-725-7002


Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender Concerns is an independent voice of LGBT people and their
allies who affirm full participation of all persons in the church and
society and who relentlessly pursue policies and processes to that
end. Together we proclaim a Gospel of respect, love, justice, and
mercy for all. Affirmation is an activist, not-for-profit
organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

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Snail-Mail: Affirmation, P.O. Box 1021, Evanston, IL 60204.