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Covenant Service to be held in Houston

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  • U.M. Cornet
    July 31, 1999: For Immediate Release Contacts: The Reverend Marilyn Meeker-Williams and the Reverend Troy Plummer Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, 1440
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 1999
      July 31, 1999: For Immediate Release

      The Reverend Marilyn Meeker-Williams and the Reverend Troy Plummer
      Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, 1440 Harold St., Houston, TX 77006
      Phone: (713) 526-1017

      Linda Enger, Eleanora Piombino to Exchange Vows Outside Bering Memorial
      United Methodist Church

      Houston, TX: On Friday, August 27, at 7:30 PM, Linda E. Enger and Eleanora
      N. Piombino of Houston will be united by the Reverend Troy Plummer in the
      street in front of Bering Memorial United Methodist Church (UMC) in Houston.

      The Reverend Marilyn Meeker-Williams and the Reverend Dr. Bruce Felker will
      serve Holy Communion in the church following the ceremony. The Rev. Plummer
      is an ordained Orthodox Catholic priest and an employee of Bering Memorial

      The United Methodist Church has declared in its Social Principles that
      ceremonies that celebrate "homosexual unions" shall not be conducted by its
      clergy or held in its churches. In August 1998 the denominations Judicial
      Council ruled that this statement has the effect of church law.

      Supportive United Methodist clergy and laity who wish to stand with Marilyn
      Meeker-Williams on the steps of the church on August 27 as witnesses to this
      holy event, are asked to contact her as soon as possible in order to make
      arrangements. (See contact information above.)

      When the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, an Anglican priest, was
      forbidden to use the pulpits of Anglican churches, he took to the streets,
      fields, and churchyards in Great Britain and boldly preached the Gospel.
      Likewise, Enger and Piombino, forbidden to use the sanctuary of their
      church, will take to the streets to celebrate their longstanding committed
      relationship to each other.

      Enger and Piombino will celebrate their 25-year-relationship with an
      exchange of vows and a celebration with their friends and family. They are
      active members of Bering Memorial UMC, where Enger is lay leader.

      In February of this year, senior pastor Marilyn Meeker-Williams announced
      her decision not to conduct any services of marriage until she could conduct
      them all. Bering Memorial UMC will hold no weddings in the sanctuary as
      long as the UMC prohibits clergy from officiating at "homosexual unions."
      The ritual used in the service for Enger and Piombino will be made
      available to all couples who seek a wedding service at Bering Memorial.

      The statement forbidding "homosexual unions" added to the Social Principles
      at the UM General Conference in 1996 set off a series of protests. Several
      clergy and congregations have witnessed against what they consider an
      unconscionable action. They say the declaration has gone against the
      denomination's affirmation that lesbian and gay people are persons of sacred
      worth and has also prevented pastors from extending all of the ministries
      of the church to all of its members.

      The first event that drew national attention was in September 1997 when
      the Reverend Jimmy Creech officiated at a covenant service for two women at
      First United Methodist Church in Omaha, NE. A trial court did not convict
      him of disobedience to church law. Presently he is being investigated by
      church officials concerning his participation in another holy union that
      happened in April. Shortly after the Judicial Council ruling, the Reverend
      Greg Dell celebrated a service for two men at Broadway United Methodist
      Church in Chicago. He has been suspended until he signs a statement that he
      will do no more ceremonies or church law changes. In August, a higher
      church court will hear his appeal of both the conviction and the sentence.
      In January 1999, over 100 clergy, mostly United Methodist and some "in
      absentia," participated in a service of Holy Union for Ellie Charleton and
      Jeanne Barnett at the Sacramento Convention Center in California. The
      church is now conducting an investigation of the "Sacramento 68."
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