March 26, 1999: By a vote of 10 to 3, the trial court found the Rev. Greg Dell guilty of disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church. By a vote of 13 to 0 the court found him guilty of conducting the service between Keith Eccarius and Karl Reinhardt on Sept. 19, 1998. He will be suspended from his pastoral duties July 3, until he signs and submits to the bishop a document saying that he will abide by Paragraph 65c or until the paragraph is lifted or its binding nature is changed by General Conference or Judicial Council action.


Following is the text of a letter, originally on United Methodist Church, Northern Illinois Conference stationary and signed by Bishop C. Joseph Sprague:

October 12, 1998

The Judicial Council ruled in August 1998 that Paragraph 65.c of The 1996 Book of Discipline, namely, "Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches," has the effect of church law, notwithstanding its placement in Paragraph 65.c and, therefore, governs the conduct of the ministerial office.

Dear Sisters and Brothers of Broadway Church,

On Saturday, Oct. 10 I received a phone call from Bishop Sprague informing me that he was filing charges against me for "disobedience to the Order and The Discipline of the United Methodist Church" for conducting a service of Holy Union for a same gender couple on September 19. Bishop Sprague is very positively sensitive on this issue and I felt his sincere personal and pastoral support in our conversation. He also assured me that I would not be suspended from the pastorate while this matter was in process.

Greg DellThe Reverend Gregory Dell officiated at a covenant service for to gay men who were members of his congregation, Broadway United Methodist Church in Chicago. He was charged with disobedience to the Discipline and order of The United Methodist Church. He was convicted and suspended indefinitely but a subsequent ruling limited the suspension to one year. (See chronology.) After the suspension, he returned as pastor to Broadway UMC.

United Methodist News Service photo

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