The Trial is Over
John C Quigley II
The trial of Rev. Greg Dell is over, he has been found guilty on both counts and the penalty has been meted out. Dell is suspended beginning with 5 July 1999, until or unless he submits a signed pledge to comply to the BOD, or until GC or the Judicial Council negates the offending paragraphs.
I posit one more possibility, there will be an appeal and it is hoped by Dell and his council that the penalty will be overturned by the Judicial Council. If this happens, it will be the end of the road, for Dell cannot be retried, just as another could not be retried for performance of the same type of disobedience. I hope that this will not be the case, not because this pastor performed a same-sex ceremony, that, in reality is not the issue here. The issue really is our covenant, a covenant that all of us are aware of when we enter the ministry. This is not some silly thing we do and then lock pinky's like we did when were kids, there is no secret handshake.
What is happening here is a deliberate tearing of the fabric of the UMC, this was done, and Dell admitted it at trial "3:28 P.M.- 3:55 P.M. Rev Greg Dell called by church counsel His ministry history was examined: Deacon 1969 & Elder in the NIC in 1972 He admitted to having performed the ceremony and of knowing of the prohibition at the time", to deliberately disregard the order of the church. This is continuing in California, with the deliberate disregard for church discipline of 90 + pastors there. They too stood in defiance of the church, and of the covenant that we are all a part of.
There are those who will gloat, who will celebrate because this verdict was guilty on both counts. I will not be among them, I beleive that there are those in our church who are being torn apart, because our church no longer has a unified ministry to all the world. We do not preach and teach that God is the transformer of persons. We preach and teach in many places in our church that Jesus is not the Son of God, he was just some poor deluded guy who lost his life in a huge mistake. That he was not sinless and could not be any savior of mankind. There are those who tell us that we need to worship at the altar of science, they are the only ones who are giving us the answers we need to live full and rich lives.
Well science is now trying to tell us that pedophilia is normal, it is not sinful nor is it an aberrant behavior. I will not and cannot condone what Dell has done, I will not and cannot condone either those who abort babies, or help others to commit suicide. I also cannot and will not condone those who will kill others, just because they are homosexual, or because they are abortionists. One cannot logically claim to be Christian and condone murder, no matter who it is who murders. In truth one cannot claim to be a disicple of Jesus Christ, and not profess Him as the risen Savior of mankind, the Son of the Living God. One cannot claim to be a disciple, and not say that God can and is and will continue to, transform hearts and lives, to bring us to that place that Wesley called, "Christian Perfection."
Dell was found guilty, and that is what should have happened, he was guilty. Is this over? Not by a long shot, General Conference 2000 will be a raucus place, there will be much contention, and what comes from there, will have a profound affect on the UMC and all of us going into the next 1000 years. May the will of God be done, in this and in every other situation and place.
THE PENALTY IS ANNOUNCED
It was decided by the Trial Court (jury) that Rev. Gregory Dell would have his Elder's orders suspended, beginning 1 July, 1999 until either he submitted a signed document that he would comply to the Book of Discipline's requirements to not perform same-sex covenant ceremonies or the prohibition is lifted by General Conference or Judicial Council action.
The Defense asked for a ruling on the pledge aspect of the penalty
Bishop Toole said he had no authority to rule it out of order and that the Trial Court (jury) had the leeway to make such a decision
The Defense then asked for a stay of penalty because of ministry commitments by Rev. Dell
Bishop Tuell granted a stay of penalty until July 5th, 1999 so that Rev. Dell could perform a heterosexual wedding on July 3rd. A request for one specific October date for another heterosexual wedding was denied.
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