Statement by Rev. Jimmy Creech
November 9, 1999
In little more than one week, there will be a United Methodist
Church trial in Grand Island, Nebraska. While the church will be
prosecuting me for celebrating the holy union ceremony for Larry
Ellis and Jim Raymer in April of this year, this trial is neither my
trial nor is it exclusively a United Methodist trial.
This trial belongs to everyone: to all lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people and their families against whom this trial is an
act of violence; to all who love justice and want to end the
persecution of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender people by The
United Methodist Church and other Christian churches; and, to all
who grieve The United Methodist Church's renunciation, in the
cause of bigotry, of Christ's unconditional love and welcome
extended to all people.
Many persons from all over the United States will be going to Grand
Island to make a clear and uncompromising witness against the
violence, the persecution and the apostasy of The United Methodist
Church. While this witness speaks one message of opposition and
protest, it will be varied both in how it is made and by whom it is
made. Some will make their witness through nonviolent
direct action and are prepared to be arrested. Others are making
their witness through the presence of solidarity and support. People
at different places in their journeys choose different ways to witness
to what God has spoken to their hearts and minds. No one way is
superior to another when it is an act of integrity and faith. We may
make different choices, but we are all making the same witness.
In addition to those going to Grand Island, many are making their
witness in their home areas through prayer vigils, letter writing and
other public expressions of support.
I support and am grateful for all ways this witness will be made,
because the message in support of justice, respect, acceptance and
inclusion of all of God's children in the Body of Christ will be
unambiguous and profound.
The support many have given to me as I approach the trial has
strengthened me. But, of greater importance, my hope is rescued
and sustained by the growing numbers of people, both nonmembers
and members, who are making a clear witness in many different
ways that the persecution of gay, bisexual, transgender and lesbian
people must end, and the grace of God must prevail in The United
Methodist Church. I believe their witness, in concert with God's
spirit, will ultimately redeem The United Methodist Church, and no
one ever again will be punished in the name of Christ because of
sexual identity or orientation.
For more information on Jimmy Creech and the history of the trial, see
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Interfaith Working Group Online