It kind of makes me crazy that there's something to celebrate in a United Methodist pastor just getting suspended rather than defrocked for blessing the union of a same-sex couple, but hey ... progress is progress and "an inch at a time" is "an inch at a time" ... even when it's only an inch.
From the report by the United Methodist News Service:
For the first time in 20 years, a conviction for performing a same-sex union has not resulted in a United Methodist elder's defrocking or indefinite suspension.So do I. Prayers ascending ... for all working their way toward the right side of history on LGBT equality in general and for the United Methodist Church in particular. AND for the day when the very idea of "suspending" rather than celebrating someone for blessing a same-sex marriage is unimaginable.
Instead, after seven hours of deliberations, a jury of 13 United Methodist clergy voted 9-4 to suspend the Rev. Amy DeLong from her ministerial functions for 20 days beginning July 1.
The jury, which is called a trial court, also sentenced DeLong to a more detailed process for a year after her suspension to "restore the broken clergy covenant relationship." At least seven votes from the trial court of five women and eight men were required to approve a penalty.
"I hope this signals to folks around the country and around the world that the United Methodists in Wisconsin aren't going to throw their gay children out," said a smiling DeLong, sitting beside her partner of 16 years, Val Zellmer.
"I hope that this is the dawning of a new day that can include openness for all people," she added.
We'll get there. It may be an inch at a time. But we'll get there!