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Fifth Anniversary of United Methodist Holy Union in Sacramento

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  • umcornet
    Saturday, January 10, 2004 A Call to Remember Five years after historical holy union, have things changed for gays in churches? By Jennifer Garza -- Sacramento
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2004
      Saturday, January 10, 2004
      A Call to Remember
      Five years after historical holy union, have things changed for gays
      in churches?
      By Jennifer Garza -- Sacramento Bee Staff Writer

      Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton were joined together five years ago
      [January 16, 2004] in a memorable and controversial holy union at the
      Sacramento Community Center Theater. Their union received nationwide
      attention, drawing both praise and protest. Next Saturday, a fifth
      anniversary celebration will take place in honor of Barnett, who died
      of a heart attack in October.

      CORNET Moderator's Note: This is a feature story with photos. Ellie
      Charlton, Don Fado, and other United Methodist clergy were
      interviewed for it. See Affirmation's extensive archives of this
      event at: http://umaffirm.org/cornet/calnev.html

      A Tribute to Jeanne Barnett by Randy Miller
      Excerpt from the Affirmation Newsletter, August 2003, Volume 28,
      Number 4.

      Affirmation Newsletter Editor's Note: On Saturday, Oct. 11, 2003 ,
      many friends surrounded Ellie Charlton in celebrating the life of
      Jeanne Barnett. Our National Affirmation Council was scheduled to
      meet that weekend at Drew University, Madison, NJ, so we were unable
      to make the trip to California. When word came of Jeanne's passing
      and memorial date, we asked Randy Miller, former Co-Spokesperson, to
      speak on our behalf.

      Unfortunately, Randy's car broke down and he was unable to convey
      publicly our message of gratefulness for Jeanne's life and prayers
      for Ellie during this time of transition. These are the words he had
      hoped to deliver.


      I have been asked to say just a few words about our friend, our
      colleague and fellow sojourner, Jeanne Barnett for both myself and my
      partner, Glenn Eagleson, and on behalf of the Affirmation Council,
      the official caucus for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender
      United Methodists. Above all else, Ellie, we would like you to know
      that though many of them could not be here, at this very moment
      across the United States, many friends and loved ones are holding you
      and Jeanne in a moment of silence and if you were to rise up from
      this place on angel's wings, you would be uplifted by a mighty
      current of love and held in our warm embrace. Be assured that in this
      moment of need neither you nor Jeanne are forgotten, nor what you
      gave to us taken granted.

      As I talked with others about what Jeanne gave to us, the same themes
      kept emerging. In the late 80's and early 90's, there were not many
      of us who had the patience or ability to work for the liberation of
      gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and stay active in The
      United Methodist Church on the local, annual, and national levels. I
      do not know what it cost her, but Jeanne was one of those few,
      serving both on the national Affirmation council and in positions of
      leadership in this annual conference and in the larger Church. In
      particular, I remember her patience, her thoughtfulness and care
      through four long years of service on the United Methodist Study
      Committee on Homosexuality. And I will not forget her forbearance
      when she spoke to General Conference and watched much of that effort
      go down to defeat. I remember her laughter and the twinkle in her eye
      when she and Ellie were in the midst of those other wonderful women
      of Affirmation.

      As I have said before, perhaps the greatest part of Jeanne's strength
      was that, at first, glance one might overlook the fact that she was
      and is a warrior for justice and liberation. If one were exceedingly
      foolish one might miss her strength of will and her determination to
      leave the world a better place. In heaven, I imagine her standing
      beside Jesus, waiting patiently as he finished one of his long
      glowing and inspiring speeches and then tapping him on the shoulder
      in her pragmatic and determined way to remind him that those loaves
      and fishes were not going to multiply themselves. That miracle or no,
      we needed a plan for distributing all of that wine - to everyone. . .
      Though it is often overlooked, this is sometimes the stuff of which
      our she-roes are made.
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