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7:30 p.m. – Cleansing Service

The Rev. Jimmy Creech was blessed and supported during a "Cleansing of the Temple" service held by the unofficial Methodist Federation of Social Action (MFSA).

The service occurred Tuesday night in the prayer room of First United Methodist Church in Kearney, Neb., where Creech's church trial will be held. Selection of jurors is to begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday March 11.

Creech stood in the center of the room, and about 15-20 people laid hands on him and gave him a blessing. Then the group sang "On Eagle's Wings."

In the cleansing service, it was noted that the venue for the trial will be inhabited by all types of spirits, so the group chanted: "This is a house of prayer for all people."

MFSA Director George McClain asked the gathering to imagine their spirits moving throughout the church in the many places where the trial will be. Then he asked the people to imagine their spirits moving throughout the denomination so it will be a house of prayer for all people.

Afterward, a ritual of social exorcism was held for the casting out of demons. McClain said the "casting-out" addresses the soul of institutions which have a core or inner soul that can get infected. The group noted that a number of alien spirits exist that are not of God and that underlie homophobia in the church: fear, ignorance, arrogance and control.

Creech was given a Star of David by the Rev. Mel White, representing Metropolitan Community Churches, which emphasize their openness to people of sexual orientation. White said the Star of David was presented as a symbol of gratitude in light of the holocaust against gays and lesbians across the country, and as a symbol of love and thanks for what Creech has done.

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