Jimmy Creech is a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, and is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. He holds a BA in Biblical Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Divinity from The Divinity School of Duke University. He served as a pastor in churches of The North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1970 to 1990.
While at Fairmont United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC (1987-1990), he helped to create the Raleigh Religious Network for Gay and Lesbian Equality, an ecumenical group whose purpose was to publicly counter antigay religious rhetoric with a faithful message of God’s love for and inclusion of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.
Mr. Creech served as the Program Associate with the North Carolina Council of Churches from 1991 to 1996. While with the North Carolina Council of Churches, the Council voted approval of the membership application of the Gulf Coast District of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, the first state Council of Churches in the United States to do so.
In July of 1996, Mr. Creech was appointed as Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska. In March of 1998, he was acquitted in a church trial of a charge of violating the Order and Discipline of the United Methodist Church when he celebrated a covenant ceremony for two women in September of 1997.
When he was not reappointed by the Nebraska bishop to First United Methodist Church, Omaha, Mr. Creech took a voluntary leave of absence from active ministry within The United Methodist Church and returned to his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is currently traveling the country to speak and writing about his experiences of the Church’s struggle to welcome and accept lesbian and gay persons.
In April of 1999, Mr. Creech celebrated the holy union of two men in Chapel Hill, NC. Charges were brought against him for this pastoral act, and he will face another trial on November 17 and 18, 1999. The trial will take place in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Mr. Creech has been active in the following organizations: The Methodist Federation for Social Action; founding member and convener of the Raleigh (NC) Religious Network for Gay and Lesbian Equality; AIDS Service Agency for Wake County (NC); charter member of the North Carolina Pride Political Action Committee; national board member of The United Methodist Church related Reconciling Congregation Program (a program that works with local churches to help them become open to and accepting of gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual persons); North Carolinians Against the Death Penalty; People of Faith Against the Death Penalty (NC); North Carolina Low Income Housing Coalition; founding member and chair of the Covenant with North Carolinas Children (a coalition of organizations advocating for the interest of children in the North Carolina General Assembly); and, the Omaha Faith Committee of Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty.
Mr. Creech has received the following awards and recognition: the 1990 Lee and Mae Ball Award presented by The Methodist Federation for Social Action for outstanding Christian social witness; the 1990 North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence Award for outstanding leadership in the struggle against hate activity in North Carolina; the 1997 Paul Green Award presented by the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union for his work to abolish the death penalty in North Carolina; the Triangle (NC) Business and Professional Guild Award (1997) for advocacy on behalf of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered persons; the Heart of Freedom Award (1998) presented by ANGLE/Omaha (Achieving New Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender Endeavors); the 1998 NC Pride Inc. Award; 1998 Saint award presented by Metropolitan Community Church, San Francisco; one of OUT Magazine’s 100 for 1998; The Human Rights Campaign Equality Award, 1999; The American People Award from People for the American Way "for challenging bigotry and promoting tolerance within the church (1999); 1999 Dignity Award (Council of Churches, Santa Clara County, California); and, 1999 Pride Interfaith Coalition Award (Boston, Massachusetts).