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To the Bishops of the
United Methodist Church

from President Dunnam

March 17, 1998

To: the Bishops of the United Methodist Church

My dear friends:

My heart is heavy.  I am grieving for the church.

“The church has spoken,” said Bishop Martinez when the jury announced a “not guilty” verdict in the Creech trial.  Eight jurors thought he was guilty  but it required 9 out of the 13 to convict.

Has the church spoken?

Our church, General Conference after General Conference, has expressed her mind and will on the issue of the practice of homosexuality.  No one can doubt what our position is, yet a minority of persons continue their onslaught against our unity, and Rev. Creech is allowed to go undisciplined on a mere technicality of where our last General Conference placed the prohibition against same sex-marriage in the Discipline.  Clergy across the nation will move now to follow suit and the unity of our church and the future of the connection are gravely threatened. If the recent dialogue, sponsored by the General Commission on Christian Unity, reflects the reality of our threatened unity, then we cannot survive this blatant violation of the mind and will of the church.  To avoid schism we must find a way to hold each other accountable and discipline those who deliberately violate the clear position of the church.

I am praying that you and other bishops will make clear to the whole church and to the secular press that while Rev. Creech was found “not guilty,” he has clearly violated the mind and will of the United Methodist Church.  To perform same sex-marriages is to affirm the practice of homosexuality, and the church has spoken clearly on that issue.

I do not believe our church can go through two years before another General Conference with such ongoing blatant disregard for the mind and the will of the church.  If the practice of same-sex marriages is allowed to stand in the public eye as “the mind of the church,” our beloved denomination will be seriously fractured if not completely divided. I hope that you will call a session of the Judicial Council to rule on the legality of this decision immediately.  If this  does not prove fruitful, if we have to call a special session of the General Conference to prevent such schismatic action, let’s do so.

My heart is heavy.  I am grieving for the church.

As I travel the connection, I sense we are at the “breaking point”  and if something is not done about this particular situation, we may be pushed “over the edge.”  I appeal to you out of our mutual commitment to United Methodism and to Christ as the Lord of the Church.  We need to hear from our bishops.  We need you to lead us.

I am praying for you and want to support you in any healing and redemptive move forward.

Joy and peace,

Maxie D. Dunnam

seal75.gif (7850 bytes)Maxie D. Dunnam is President of:

Asbury Theological Seminary
204 N. Lexington Ave.
Wilmore, KY 40390

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