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Methodists convict lesbian!

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  • rlbaty50
    Methodist Jury Convicts Lesbian Minister Dec 2, 2:58 PM (ET) By RICHARD N. OSTLING PUGHTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A jury made up of United Methodist Church clergy
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 2, 2004
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      Methodist Jury Convicts Lesbian Minister

      Dec 2, 2:58 PM (ET)

      By RICHARD N. OSTLING

      PUGHTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A jury made up of United Methodist Church clergy
      convicted a lesbian minister Thursday of violating church law by
      openly living with her partner in a committed relationship.

      The Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud could be defrocked as a result of the
      ruling, which came on the second day of her church trial. The same 13-
      member jury was set to meet Thursday afternoon to decide her penalty.

      Methodist law bars "self-avowed, practicing homosexuals" from
      ministry. Nine votes were necessary for a conviction and the jury
      voted 12-1 to find Stroud guilty.

      The last time the 8.3 million-member denomination convicted an openly
      gay cleric was in 1987, when a New Hampshire church court defrocked
      the Rev. Rose Mary Denman.

      Last March, a Methodist court in Washington state acquitted the Rev.
      Karen Dammann, who lives with a same-sex partner, citing an ambiguity
      in church law that the Methodist supreme court has since eliminated.
      Before the jury returned, Stroud, 34, told reporters that whatever
      the verdict, "this case has shown how divided we are" over the role
      of gays in the church. She had expected to be convicted.

      Stroud, associate pastor at Philadelphia's First United Methodist
      Church of Germantown, set the case in motion last year when she
      announced to her bishop and congregation that she was living in a
      committed relationship with her partner, Chris Paige.

      At her trial, Stroud's defense was dealt a blow when the presiding
      judge Joseph Yeakel, the retired bishop of Washington, D.C., excluded
      expert testimony from six defense witnesses who believe the church's
      gay clergy ban violates its own legal principles.

      The senior pastor of Stroud's church, the Rev. Alfred Day III,
      attempted to raise a similar issue when he took the stand, saying "I
      believe that even the testimony of Scripture is far from clear on
      this subject."

      "We have more muddle than clarity," he said. But the prosecuting
      attorney, the Rev. Thomas Hall of Exton, Pa., asked Yeakel to strike
      Day's statement and the judge instructed the jury
      that "constitutional issues are not before this court."

      Stroud's defense counsel, the Rev. J. Dennis Williams, said in
      closing arguments that "the heart of the issue is whether all United
      Methodists, regardless of status, are to be afforded equal rights and
      equal opportunities."

      "I only wish you could hear the full testimony we wished to present,"
      Williams said.

      But Hall told jurors they had a duty to "hold a good pastor
      accountable to the standard with which we all live" under the
      Methodist Book of Discipline.

      The basic facts in the case were never in dispute, since Stroud had
      declared she was gay.

      The only two defense witnesses to be called were Day and the senior
      pastor who supervised her in Westchester, Pa. Both lavishly praised
      her performance in preaching, teaching and pastoral work. Hall agreed
      with that assessment.

      Stroud's supportive Philadelphia congregation has already agreed that
      she can continue doing her work as a lay employee without clergy
      status. However, she will be unable to celebrate baptism or
      Communion.

      #################################
    • Tamara
      I have no problem with a homosexual holding a layman s position. Even I hold a layman s position, and I m nobody. I have a very serious problem with
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 3, 2004
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        I have no problem with a homosexual holding a layman's position. Even I hold a layman's position, and I'm nobody.

        I have a very serious problem with homosexual clergy in the UMC, however, and many members feel the same. Many members of the UMC are elderly, so you can only imagine what they think about it. Some have even left the church over this issue.

        Unlike the senior pastor who testified, I don't see any ambiguity in the Bible on this issue. So I am glad to see this, and I hope that she is indeed defrocked. However, I wish that she would simply have resigned rather than put the church through this action. Frankly, I think that in and of itself shows she is not qualified to lead a congregation. Being a pastor requires that one place the church's interests before one's own.

        Now if they would only do the same thing with Dammann, I'd be a happy camper. As far as I'm aware, there is no double jeopardy clause in the Book of Discipline.

        I believe that the Episcopalians permit homosexual clergy. Their beliefs are not much different, they are just far more liberal. So perhaps those who wish to continue practicing homosexuality as clergy should switch to their system of things rather than continuing to cause dissension within the UMC congregations.

        Best,
        Tamara

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: rlbaty50
        To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2004 4:04 PM
        Subject: Methodists convict lesbian!



        Methodist Jury Convicts Lesbian Minister

        Dec 2, 2:58 PM (ET)

        By RICHARD N. OSTLING

        PUGHTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A jury made up of United Methodist Church clergy
        convicted a lesbian minister Thursday of violating church law by
        openly living with her partner in a committed relationship.

        The Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud could be defrocked as a result of the
        ruling, which came on the second day of her church trial. The same 13-
        member jury was set to meet Thursday afternoon to decide her penalty.

        Methodist law bars "self-avowed, practicing homosexuals" from
        ministry. Nine votes were necessary for a conviction and the jury
        voted 12-1 to find Stroud guilty.

        The last time the 8.3 million-member denomination convicted an openly
        gay cleric was in 1987, when a New Hampshire church court defrocked
        the Rev. Rose Mary Denman.

        Last March, a Methodist court in Washington state acquitted the Rev.
        Karen Dammann, who lives with a same-sex partner, citing an ambiguity
        in church law that the Methodist supreme court has since eliminated.
        Before the jury returned, Stroud, 34, told reporters that whatever
        the verdict, "this case has shown how divided we are" over the role
        of gays in the church. She had expected to be convicted.

        Stroud, associate pastor at Philadelphia's First United Methodist
        Church of Germantown, set the case in motion last year when she
        announced to her bishop and congregation that she was living in a
        committed relationship with her partner, Chris Paige.

        At her trial, Stroud's defense was dealt a blow when the presiding
        judge Joseph Yeakel, the retired bishop of Washington, D.C., excluded
        expert testimony from six defense witnesses who believe the church's
        gay clergy ban violates its own legal principles.

        The senior pastor of Stroud's church, the Rev. Alfred Day III,
        attempted to raise a similar issue when he took the stand, saying "I
        believe that even the testimony of Scripture is far from clear on
        this subject."

        "We have more muddle than clarity," he said. But the prosecuting
        attorney, the Rev. Thomas Hall of Exton, Pa., asked Yeakel to strike
        Day's statement and the judge instructed the jury
        that "constitutional issues are not before this court."

        Stroud's defense counsel, the Rev. J. Dennis Williams, said in
        closing arguments that "the heart of the issue is whether all United
        Methodists, regardless of status, are to be afforded equal rights and
        equal opportunities."

        "I only wish you could hear the full testimony we wished to present,"
        Williams said.

        But Hall told jurors they had a duty to "hold a good pastor
        accountable to the standard with which we all live" under the
        Methodist Book of Discipline.

        The basic facts in the case were never in dispute, since Stroud had
        declared she was gay.

        The only two defense witnesses to be called were Day and the senior
        pastor who supervised her in Westchester, Pa. Both lavishly praised
        her performance in preaching, teaching and pastoral work. Hall agreed
        with that assessment.

        Stroud's supportive Philadelphia congregation has already agreed that
        she can continue doing her work as a lay employee without clergy
        status. However, she will be unable to celebrate baptism or
        Communion.

        #################################






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      • cassondrawrites@aol.com
        Dear Tamara, I m curious about a couple of things you mentioned in your post. You stated that you don t have a problem with a homosexual holding a layman s
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 4, 2004
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          Dear Tamara,

          I'm curious about a couple of things you mentioned in your post. You stated
          that you don't have a problem with a homosexual holding a layman's position,
          but also that you don't see any ambiguity in the Bible on the subject of
          homosexuality. This appears a little contradictory. If it is inappropriate for a
          minister to continue in sin, why is it not inappropriate for the layman? I am
          assuming that you are referring to a practicing homosexual, not someone who
          has repented and is trying to live a pure life. If the primary purpose of the
          church is salvation for the lost, then isn't the church compelled to urge all
          sinners to repent, be they laymen or clergy?

          I'll tell you upfront I am not terribly familar with the modern carnation of
          the Methodist church, so perhaps you do not regard homosexuality as sinful at
          all. If that's the case, then obviously my question is moot. But I'd
          appreciate your clarifying your thoughts on this for me. Thanks.

          Sincerely,
          Cassondra


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Tamara
          I do regard homosexuality as a sin, and (until recently I thought) so did the Methodist Church. Yes, I am referring to practicing homosexuals only. I do not
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 4, 2004
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            I do regard homosexuality as a sin, and (until recently I thought) so did the Methodist Church. Yes, I am referring to practicing homosexuals only. I do not think it is a sin to have homosexual urges, but it is a sin if you act upon those urges.

            It is inappropriate for anyone to continue in sin, but especially so for a minister because others look to them in a special light.

            The Methodist Church is open to everyone. Practicing homosexuals are members in some congregations, and over time the church members have adjusted to that. The idea is that we are to love the sinner, but hate the sin.

            I think perhaps your question arises from the definition of a layman's position in the church. In the Methodist Church, that means a non-teaching position.

            Please let me know if this answers your question, or merely raises more. To be quite honest, I am struggling myself with this whole idea, because the church is changing in this area and I'm not sure I'm changing with them.

            Best,
            Tamara

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: cassondrawrites@...
            To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 9:35 PM
            Subject: Re: Methodists convict lesbian!


            Dear Tamara,

            I'm curious about a couple of things you mentioned in your post. You stated
            that you don't have a problem with a homosexual holding a layman's position,
            but also that you don't see any ambiguity in the Bible on the subject of
            homosexuality. This appears a little contradictory. If it is inappropriate for a
            minister to continue in sin, why is it not inappropriate for the layman? I am
            assuming that you are referring to a practicing homosexual, not someone who
            has repented and is trying to live a pure life. If the primary purpose of the
            church is salvation for the lost, then isn't the church compelled to urge all
            sinners to repent, be they laymen or clergy?

            I'll tell you upfront I am not terribly familar with the modern carnation of
            the Methodist church, so perhaps you do not regard homosexuality as sinful at
            all. If that's the case, then obviously my question is moot. But I'd
            appreciate your clarifying your thoughts on this for me. Thanks.

            Sincerely,
            Cassondra


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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          • cassondrawrites@aol.com
            Thanks, Tamara, I think you cleared that up for me. I guess what I perceived as contradiction lies in our differing approaches to sin. It sounds like your
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 4, 2004
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              Thanks, Tamara, I think you cleared that up for me. I guess what I perceived
              as contradiction lies in our differing approaches to sin. It sounds like
              your emphasis on loving the sinner leads you to tolerate the sin, hoping that the
              person will change at some point without pressure from others. In my mind,
              loving the sinner means doing everything possible to "snatch them from the
              fire," and that would include letting them know that they cannot be in fellowship
              with God while they continue to practice sin.

              By the way, I agree that a person may continue to have homosexual urges and
              yet remain pure before God, just as a heterosexual may continue to be attracted
              to members of the opposite sex or recovering alcoholics may continue to
              struggle with desires for alcohol, etc. The key lies in not indulging our lusts.
              The fact that we have lusts, of any sort, simply means that we are human.

              I know that you've been struggling with all this upheaval for a while. I
              hope that you can arrive at an understanding that communes with truth and frees
              your conscience. At its heart, there is nothing more simple and pure than
              faith, yet its application often is as tangled as are we.

              Cassondra


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Tamara
              Yes, Cassondra, you are correct about our approach to loving the sinner. It is hoped that those who are engaging in sin will stop doing so if shown compassion
              Message 6 of 6 , Dec 5, 2004
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                Yes, Cassondra, you are correct about our approach to loving the sinner. It is hoped that those who are engaging in sin will stop doing so if shown compassion and God's grace in action. We don't openly preach against homosexuality like some churches do, but active homosexuals are counseled privately regarding the Biblical teachings on the subject. Our general sermons are usually upbeat and tend to be more along the lines of how to apply the teachings in a common-sense manner to the average person's life, rather than the "hellfire and brimstone" approach that some churches take. We're the churches that run most of the homeless shelters and soup kitchens. We try to work God's will through the less fortunate in our communities. I guess you could say we take a public service approach to the teachings.

                I especially agree with the Methodist Church's position permitting female ministers (I thought I'd throw that in for Keith's sake). In fact, I seek out Methodist congregations with female pastors, and always have. Of course, that's just a personal preference. It's not that I'm a feminist, it's that I feel more comfortable with a female pastor since I do seek pastoral counsel on a regular basis, and it has been my experience that a female can understand my personal concerns and feelings better than a male can. I have also found female pastors to be more compassionate than male pastors (although there is one notable exception).

                I agree with you that there are many types of urges common to the human condition which must be controlled and not acted upon, and homosexuality is but one of those many things. That is why we permit homosexuals to become members just as we would alcoholics. It is hoped that being accepted within the Christian community will facilitate change in their life. It actually does help a lot of people turn their life around.

                This homosexuality issue has been a great struggle for me, and I appreciate your kind concern. On the one hand, I agree with the teachings of the UMC and with the Book of Discipline, which is why I am a member. On the other hand, this seeming politicizing within the church leadership of the issues surrounding homosexual clergy has been a source of great stress for me. I simply cannot condone it among our clergy. I am basically trying a "wait and see" approach to how it will ultimately be handled overall. It appears that the church is agreeing with me regarding the issue since the last General Conference, but who knows what will happen at the next General Conference. The church seems to be evolving away from the teachings, slowly but surely, even though we already are one of the more liberal congregations. I don't think we need to become any more liberal than we already are.

                In the meantime, the church is telling members to not pass judgment, to stick together and allow the church to resolve the issue. However, it is my understanding of the scriptures that, when grave sin is involved within the Christian community, we must rebuke those sinners lest the sin spread to other Christians; and that ministers and teachers are to be held to a higher standard. Yet, the original minister to come forward with an admission of homosexuality still holds the position of pastor, despite being an active open homosexual. I feel the church and its members have a responsibility to rebuke her and take away her position within the church. Of even greater concern is that to permit her to continue in her position while still an actively practicing homosexual could even encourage young church members to sin by acting on homosexual urges. After all, if their minister is known to be a lesbian, and her homosexuality appears to be condoned by the church, the thought will naturally be that it must not be a sin. It's my understanding that, if others are induced to sin through one's actions, that constitutes blood guilt. So, I continue to struggle, and to pray that this will be resolved soon.

                Best,
                Tamara

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: cassondrawrites@...
                To: Maury_and_Baty@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 11:58 PM
                Subject: Re: Methodists convict lesbian!


                Thanks, Tamara, I think you cleared that up for me. I guess what I perceived
                as contradiction lies in our differing approaches to sin. It sounds like
                your emphasis on loving the sinner leads you to tolerate the sin, hoping that the
                person will change at some point without pressure from others. In my mind,
                loving the sinner means doing everything possible to "snatch them from the
                fire," and that would include letting them know that they cannot be in fellowship
                with God while they continue to practice sin.

                By the way, I agree that a person may continue to have homosexual urges and
                yet remain pure before God, just as a heterosexual may continue to be attracted
                to members of the opposite sex or recovering alcoholics may continue to
                struggle with desires for alcohol, etc. The key lies in not indulging our lusts.
                The fact that we have lusts, of any sort, simply means that we are human.

                I know that you've been struggling with all this upheaval for a while. I
                hope that you can arrive at an understanding that communes with truth and frees
                your conscience. At its heart, there is nothing more simple and pure than
                faith, yet its application often is as tangled as are we.

                Cassondra


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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