Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Iowa City: Methodist Campus Minister in Trouble for Officiating at Gay Wedding // Updated: Same-Sex Wedding Complaint Against Campus Minister Resolved

(Originally written on 05/10/17): The United Methodist Church was recently in the news after a Bishop got defrocked or disrobed following a complaint about her being a married lesbian. Now a similar story is unfolding here in Iowa City after a campus minister within the University of Iowa got reported to her UMC superiors for officiating at a gay wedding:
The board of directors for the Wesley Student Center at UI is supporting the Rev. Anna Blaedel, the center's executive director. Blaedel faces possible censure from the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church for having officiated at a wedding ceremony April 4 in Oklahoma for a fellow clergywoman and her wife. 
The Appointive Cabinet of the Iowa Conference filed a unanimous complaint last month against Blaedel, charging the campus minister with practices considered “to be incompatible with Christian teaching.” The cabinet includes the superintendents of the eight church districts within the state.
Blaedel acknowledged in news reports that she could lost her pastoral credentials and her job officiating over this wedding. But she felt called to do it.

I posted this linked article to the Iowa News Facebook page earlier today and someone shared it on her own Facebook page, along with some public commentary. She wrote:
Guess she's trying to follow a sect of California Methodists. I hope the Christian Methodists will stand upon the Bible teachings and remove her. The predictions of the last days are upon us. And it's getting more difficult to reject these wicked ways as our families and congregations are being infiltrated.
For the record, the UMC's Book of Discipline explicitly bars its ministers from officiating at gay weddings or from being ordained as ministers. I understand that. Rev. Blaedel will likely be defrocked. Or at least punished professionally. I get that. It's one of the reasons that I left the church of my childhood for the United Church of Christ back in the 1990s.

But this woman (let's called her D.L.) really annoys me. First, marriage equality isn't a "California" thing. I understand that people like to dismiss things that they don't like as some leftist kooky thing springing from the left coast. But let's get this straight. Iowa is a marriage equality state. It has been for eight years. In fact, Iowa became a marriage equality state at the same time that California went back to being a marriage inequality state.

Lastly, the United Methodist Church isn't being infiltrated by LGBTQ people. We grew up in the church. We are the church. We'd love to stay in the church, even if the church really doesn't want us. One way or the other, gay marriage will come to the UMC. I just don't know if the UMC will survive the experience as an intact denomination.

Updated on 06/06/17: We learned yesterday that things have resolved positively for Rev. Anna Blaedel. She got in trouble last month after a complaint was filed over an April same-sex wedding that she officiated at.

Yesterday, the Appointive Cabinet of the Iowa Conference decided against taking any disciplinary action against Blaedel. Basically, they asked her and other Methodist ministers to stop doing same-sex weddings for a couple of years in order to avoid future complaints and division.

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