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Personal pain over lesbian minister's defrocking


Elizabeth Stroud, a Methodist minister, was defrocked by the United Methodist Church’s top court for having an open lesbian relationship. (Tim Shaffer/Reuters)

Kathy over at Birmingham Blues has a personal perspective on the recent decision by the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church to defrock Rev. Beth Stroud because she is in a committed relationship with another woman. The United Methodist Church accepts gay and lesbian ministers — as long as they remain celibate. Kathy’s heart aches:

And now I find myself in a dilemma. The church has made me angry before. The church has disappointed me. The church has failed me and others. But I always thought there was the possibility of change, of progress, of transformation. My congregation has loved me and infuriated me and taken care of me and my family. My children have run the halls of our church since they were babies, and they think of it as a second home. I don’t want to leave it, but I don’t see an alternative.

I can’t be part of a denomination that would deny my own brother membership because he doesn’t believe his sexual orientation is sinful. I can’t be part of a denomination with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for clergy. And I certainly can’t be part of a denomination that has so perverted the ideals of its founder that the quadrilateral authority of scripture, reason, tradition, and experience has been usurped by a Judicial Council that won’t allow us to think for ourselves.

So I must make a painful decision. Do I leave and let my family stay where they are known and loved, or do I insist that we all find a church that truly does have the open hearts, open minds, and open doors that the United Methodist Church claims? Or do I decide to try one more time, two more times, a thousand more times to work for change from within?

I highly recommend that you surf over to her post, God Must Be Weeping.

Also, see Ms. Julien’s post on the decision, where she asks the pertinent question, “I wonder if any of the members of the Judicial Council were wearing mixed fabric when they gave her the boot for violating Leviticus?”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding