Here We Go: United Methodist Minister Faces Church Trial for Being a ‘Practicing Homosexual’

The Iowa Conference Committee on Investigation has decided that United Methodist Church (UMC) clergy member, Rev. Anna Blaedel, will face a trial. Blaedel has made no secret that she is an “out, queer, partnered clergy,” and is consequently facing discipline for violating the UMC’s rules which stipulate a clergy member cannot be  “a self-avowed practicing homosexual.”

“I receive this news with deep sadness and grief,” Blaedel wrote in a Facebook postreacting to the committee’s decision. “I grieve what and who the Iowa Annual Conference and UMC is becoming. Is this the church you want to be?”

According to United Methodist News (UMN), Blaedel has been charged under Paragraph 2702.1 in The United Methodist Book of Discipline. There, the Book of Discipline states that a clergy member may be tried for a variety of offenses, one of which is “practices declared by The United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teachings, including but not limited to: being a self-avowed practicing homosexual; or conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies.”

Anna Blaedel’s Announcement

The public controversy surrounding Blaedel seems to have begun in 2016, when she read a statement at the Iowa Annual Conference announcing her queer identity. Blaedel said she has been in the Methodist church for most of her life and that it “has been my place of spiritual belonging, of vocational calling, my faith community, my faith home.” She went on to express how painful it is to be in a denomination that calls LGBTQ “living and loving” a sin, a view she believes is incompatible with Christian teaching.

UMN reports that soon after Blaedel made this announcement, three Iowa clergy members did in fact file a complaint against her, which was later dismissed by Bishop Julius C. Trimble. Trimble himself ended up facing a formal complaint because of that decision. In the time since, Blaedel has received other formal complaints, including one for officiating a same-gender wedding, but this is the first that has resulted in her going to trial.

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Source: Church Leaders