Spiritual Violence Against Homosexuals Transcends Denominational Boundaries

November 9, 1999

For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Media Coordinator for Rev. Jimmy Creech
717-627-7180 – LMRutt@aol.com

On November 17 – 18, 1999, The United Methodist Church will wrongfully condemn the actions of Rev. Jimmy Creech for celebrating the holy union of Larry Ellis and Jim Raymer in April of this year. While claiming to affirm the worth of all people, The United Methodist Church prohibits ministers from performing same-sex unions.

From all over the United States, justice seeking people from a myriad of faith traditions will be going to Grand Island, Nebraska, to make a clear and uncompromising witness against the spiritual violence being done to sexual minorities and their families.

On November 16 at 7pm Larry and Jim will participate with the Rev. Jimmy Creech in the renewal of their commitment and a reenactment of their union ceremony. The young gay men want the world to see this sacred rite before they condemn it. The United Methodist Church must be held accountable for withholding the blessing of the church from what God has blessed already.

In a statement released today, Rev. Creech said, " 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."

Support for justice, respect, acceptance and inclusion of all of God’s children in the Body of Christ and in support Rev. Creech will take many forms. Some will be taking part in the actions of Soulforce, a group committed to non-violent direct resistance as taught by Jesus, Gandhi and King. Others are making their witness through their presence and support at the trial. Those not able to come to Grand Island will be holding vigils, writing letters, and praying for an end to the spiritual violence committed by the Church.

This profound witness to the gospel is not about the trial of one minister by The United Methodist Church, but a wake up call to all those who persecute and oppress individuals because of their sexual orientation. In the words of Rev. Creech, "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."

The media are invited to attend the Holy Union rite at the Holiday Inn Midtown in Grand Island, 7PM, Nov. 16, 1999. For more information on Rev. Jimmy Creech or activities surrounding the trial, contact Laura Montgomery Rutt at 717-627-7180. For the complete statement made today by Rev. Creech, see http://www.iwgonline.org/docs/jcontrial.html.