Methodist jury finds Beth Stroud guilty of violating church law on sexuality

Methodist jury finds Beth Stroud guilty of violating church law on sexuality
It shouldn't be a big shocker that a church jury defrocked United Methodist minister Beth Stroud. She told her congregation that she's a practicing lesbian (her partner was the publisher of The Other Side until it folded in October), and the Methodist Book of Order clearly bans "self-avowed, practicing homosexuals … as ministers." The church's rule on this was strengthened at the denomination's May meeting.

But it is a big deal because Methodist ministers are violating the church's teachings on sexual ethics, but other juries and denominational leaders have thwarted any disciplinary measures. Just two months ago, a complaint was dismissed against Karen Oliveto, who had performed the marriage of a gay couple in San Francisco.

In fact, the last time the denomination actually defrocked one of its ministers over homosexual behavior was in the 1987 Rose Mary Denman case. In 1999, Jimmy Creech was defrocked for performing same-sex union ceremonies.

Stroud plans to keep ministering without her credentials. Under Methodist polity, she can continue preaching as a lay member, but can't administer Communion elements or conduct baptisms. She says she hasn't decided whether to appeal the ruling, the announcement of which was followed by her supporters gathering in the courtroom, singing, "We are gay and straight together, singing, singing for our lives."

For our lives?

More articles

More on homosexuality & churches:

  • Return of Lutheran group's status sought | Central City mission was removed as a congregation over its call to a lesbian minister (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)
  • Christianity doesn't invalidate same-sex relationships - SACC | Caution urged over appeal court ruling (Cape Times, Cape Town, South Africa)
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
Previous Weblog Columns: