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
http://www.umaffirm.org.

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

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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.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: http://www.umaffirm.org
Snail-Mail: Affirmation, P.O. Box 1021, Evanston, IL 60204.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2003

Affirmation Mourns the Loss of Jeanne Barnett, but Her Work Lives On

Longtime Affirmation member Jeanne Barnett passed away peacefully on
October 1, 2003. A heart attack and complications from diabetes took
her from us. Her memorial service was held at St. Mark's United
Methodist Church in Sacramento, California on Saturday October 11
while our National Affirmation Council was meeting at Drew University,
Madison, NJ. Randy Miller, a former Co-spokesperson was the Council's
representative for Affirmation.

Co-spokesperson Peggy R. Gaylord reflected on knowing Jeanne and
Ellie. "While they are probably best known for their very public holy
union service almost five years ago performed by 150 lay and clergy
members ( See http://www.umaffirm.org/um/archives/3-sacramento-service .)
and Jeanne being known as the Lesbian on the UMC General Conference
Study Committee on Homosexuality, the sole gay-identified voice until
Bill Kent was later added, Jeanne and Ellie were very private people
even though they were very active in Affirmation for years before
that. These public 'demonstrations' seemed out of character for
them.

"However, they were always involved in a significant way even though
often more behind the scenes. About the time that I first became
heavily involved with Affirmation in the late 80's, Jeanne and Ellie
were becoming the National Coordinators of the Regional Organizers, of
which I was the Northeast Regional Organizer. This was during the
height of our chapter development work, with over 50 chapters
nationally, prior to the rise of Reconciling Congregations. Ellie
later served as Treasurer and Jeanne was Co-spokesperson for a period
of time after her stint on the Study Committee. They were involved in
many leadership roles for us, always willing to fill in wherever they
were needed; they've been wonderful contributors of their time,
energy, and financial resources. I know they were also very involved
in their local Affirmation, and active members in their local church
and on the church conference (regional) level in addition to these
other roles.

"But, as Anita Creamer of The Sacramento Bee wrote:

'Ultimately, life doesn't come down to political statements, no matter
how groundbreaking; it comes down to love. Barnett and Charlton were
partners for 20 years...'" ["Honoring one who stood up," October 13,
2003].

The next Affirmation newsletter will be dedicated to Jeanne Barnett.
If anyone would like to forward comments to umaffirmation@...
about her or the significance of her contributions by November 3,
2003, as many as possible will be incorporated into our memorial
articles.

Affirmation has also set up a memorial fund in Jeanne Barnett's name,
to be used for current and emerging issues. Any contributions may be
sent to The Jeanne Barnett Memorial Fund, c/o Affirmation, P.O. Box
1021, Evanston, IL 60204.

The National Affirmation Council has scheduled its next meeting in the
Sacramento area in January in order to join in the 5-year Anniversary
Celebration of Jeanne Barnett's and Ellie Charlton's Holy Union. The
purpose of this celebration is to reflect upon the progress over the
years and look to the future, as well as recognize the impact one such
witness event can have upon the church. The day-long event will
be Jan. 17, 2004, starting at 10:00 am.

According to the Rev. Don Fado, "Jeanne and Ellie saw the anniversary
celebration to be, not about them, but about what has happened in the
last five years in the movement toward full inclusion for glbt
persons in the church--and where we go from here. Among Jeanne's
last words to Ellie was the request to go ahead with the anniversary
celebration-- and that we will do." For more details, please contact
Rev. Fado at donfado@... or 4322 Alderwood Way, Sacramento,
CA.

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Contact:
The Rev. Peggy R. Gaylord, Affirmation Co-Spokesperson
607-723-4091; 607-725-7002 or aMiracleToday@...

The Rev. Kenneth Rowe, Affirmation Co-Spokesperson
415-595-0180 or kianrowe@...

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Concerns, http://www.umaffirm.org

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