Beginning this afternoon, at Peace United Methodist Church in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, Rev. Amy DeLong, Osceola, WI, will face charges for being open about her sexual orientation and partnered relationship and for officiating a holy union ceremony for a lesbian couple seeking God’s blessing within a worship service. You can learn more at a website devoted to the trial and Pastor Amy’s ministry.
These are deemed “chargeable offenses” for United Methodist clergy.
This trial may feel like a bad flashback for Lutherans–Pastors Ross Merkel, Steve Sabin, and Bradley Schmeling were all previously put on church trial in the Lutheran church because of their sexual orientation and/or relationships. Each of these three pastors was reinstated to the ELCA clergy roster following the ELC’s 2009 change in ministry policies.
Amalia Vagts, Executive Director, of ELM wrote in a note to Pastor Amy this morning, “On behalf of your friends at Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, we wish you God’s peace and grace during this week of this shameful trial. We walk this sad road with you, as we have walked it in the past with your Lutheran colleagues (Ross Merkel, Steve Sabin, Bradley Schmeling). That these trials continue seems unimaginable. I pray that they continue to open eyes, hearts, and minds to the expansive love and grace of our God who embraces all without exception.”
You can learn more about the history of LGBT pastors in the Lutheran Church by watching the excellent documentary, Call to Witness, now available through Netflix. Click here to learn more about the film, Call to Witness.