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Beliefnet News

Lesbian minister to face Methodist church trial

c. 2011 Religion News Service

(RNS) United Methodists will begin a trial Tuesday (June 21) against a Wisconsin minister who’s accused of breaking church rules by celebrating a same-sex marriage and being in a lesbian relationship.

The Rev. Amy DeLong, 44, of Osceola, Wis., could be defrocked if the 13-member jury composed of local clergy finds her guilty of either charge.

A minister for 14 years, DeLong agreed to officiate at a same-sex ceremony in 2009, the same year she and her partner registered as a couple under Wisconsin’s domestic partnership law, according to United Methodist News Service.

The United Methodist Church, which has about 11 million members — about 7.7 million in the U.S. — calls homosexual activity “incompatible with Christian teaching.”


The denomination bars “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” from ministry, and prohibits all clergy from celebrating same-sex marriages, even in states where it is legal.

While hundreds of clergy in recent months have petitioned the UMC to lift the bans, polls and church conferences indicate that a majority of ministers favor retaining them. Moreover, the church is growing most rapidly in Africa, where Christians tend to hold conservative views on sexuality.

The church’s highest court upheld the bans last April, overturning a move by Methodists in New York to allow clergy to marry same-sex partners. “The church’s definition of marriage … is clear and unequivocal and is limited to the union of one man and one woman,” the court ruled.

In 2005, a Philadelphia minister was defrocked after she told her congregation that she was in a lesbian relationship.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    I hope they have the backbone to stand by what they know to be right, just and holy.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    I hope Rev DeLong has the backbone to stand with Jesus who taught what is right, just, and holy. God is love – everything else is of lesser consequence. Anyone whose life is a testimony to love, who draws people together in love is doing God’s will. Everyone who wants to hold the door closed is simply posing as a bouncer.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Steven

    Rev. Amy! You are an inspiration to me and an example for my daughters! I pray that the jurors are filled with the holy spirit and do what’s right and follow the example of Christ in love. The world has enough hate and judgement in it. God bless you! My family prays for you every day!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    jest God is love but there is no evidence that He is homosexual love, His word leads to heterosexual marriage never once is there any indication of homosexuality as holy, that’s your teaching not His.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Was born, and raised but left the Methodist church. Pretty sad when one can be “defrocked for marrying 2 people and have a domestic partner. Let’s hope the jury has more sense than the church right now. I’m glad I’m currently NOT associated with the UMC any more. My youngest sister is an active Methodist, but disagrees with the churches view on things like this.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    Philios, Ireneh, Adelphos, and Agapeh – they are all love, each a part of the other, indivisible if expressed freely and fully. There is nothing bout sexuality here, it is all about full participation in God’s Creation. Closing the door only shuts the bouncer out – God has a wonderful way of sweeping the rejected person in. “The building block that was rejected became he cornerstone of a whole new world” Perhaps the good Rev will be able to remind the seated elders of the Dance of Creation, led by the Lord. Time for the UMC to boogie!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    your dance is about pagan rituals like pan, God did not design homosexuality it has no purpose. I know about all of the terms for love they all involved in holiness about heterosexuality. Read the bible oh yeah you don’t believe it

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    None of the words for love have anything to do with sexuality. They are all about expressions and experiences of love. You seem to think about sex a lot – I’m getting worried about you. Look up and see God’s wider world for all its glory. There is more to human relationships than the action below the belt and above the socks.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Unfortunately many people think that all homosexuals do is “have sex”. They don’t seem to realize that those who love a person of the same gender live, love and act just like heterosexual people. Sex in a loving relationship is just part of that relationship. There are in this world both homosexual and heterosexal humans that do consider sex as all there is in life—so in this case my remarks are made regarding the love, respect and companionship those who marry hope to have with each other—-no matter what there sexual orientation. How is that wrong on any level? (even a Biblical one).

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    jest the lie that sexuality is against the very design of man God sculpted, sexuality is very important to God that is a deception to say it is not. I worry about you as a person who would led a flock off a cliff into chaos. Saying that some people think that sex is all there is is a deceptive trick to deflect the fact that God does care about what we do with such a precious gift that He took time to incorporate with all reason into who we are. A lot of kids have brought into this lie and their lives are so ruined so shallow they hardly can find reason to live. Why is the suicide rate so high (don’t say bullying I come from a race that was bullied and we have a low rate of suicide) look at the highest rate of suicide and it is clear it comes from empty.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Perhaps that suicide rate is because some of those kids are having a hard time accepting themselves as who they are—gay or lesbian—and still, even with the progress that has been made in legal equality (not enough however) and acceptance, they feel as if they are somehow unnatural. They are not. They were born the way they are. Obviously I can’t explain why people, young or old, take their own lives. Just tossing out a theory. Doesn’t it bother you that a teen would kill him/herself because they are homosexual—and are afraid to tell someone, because their church says loving a same gender person (and acting on that) is “sinful”?

  • http://gottagojoe77 Joe Patton

    God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    pagan it bothers me, I think you know me well enough that you would know that it bothers me if a teen or anybody for that matter takes their life. Does not change the truth I know about homosexuality that would still be truth even if I weren’t here, but it bothers me as it would with anyone.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Joe Patton: You need a new line—that one is as old as I am, and I’m beyond 60.

    cknuck: Yes, I do know that it would bother you—however continuing to teach that homosexuality is “sinful” and all that goes with it from many (not all) churches point of view doesn’t help prevent a teen suicide—it just might encourage it because of the child’s feelings of not being able to follow a faith due to their personal feelings towards a same gender person.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment TK

    Joe Patton “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”

    I guess that sucks for William and Kate’s marriage because God made Adam and Steve, not William and Kate.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment TK

    Cknuck “Does not change the truth I know about homosexuality that would still be truth even if I weren’t here”

    What truth abut homosexuality? That it is not a choice, or that it is a natural variant of human sexuality that would’ve had to have been created by a creator?

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