Righteous Punishment of Rebel Pastor Sill Painful To Nebraska Evangelical UM
One Persons Thoughts and Feelings
It was Wednesday morning November 17, 1999. Bonnie and I had awakened early that morning to drive to Grand Island, Nebraska for the second Church Trial of The Reverend Jimmy Creech. He had once again preformed a Covenanting Service for two persons of the same sex.
Driving to Grand Island we had no idea of what to expect when we arrived at Trinity United Methodist. There had been news reports of impending protest by groups in support and against the actions of Jimmy. However, we both felt compelled by the Spirit of God to be present. I had to miss a prayer gathering the day before due to my own illness.
Arriving we found the crowd small. We entered the church sanctuary in time for the last twenty minutes or so of Rev. Creechs closing remarks to the Jury. After his closing statement, the Church Council the Reverend Steve Flader of Omaha readdressed the Jury. The Jurors then were excused too deliberate and form their verdict. It was almost noon.
At 1:15 p.m. the court was reconvened and at 1:35 p.m. the jury interred to render the verdict. The Reverend Jimmy Creech was found gilty of Disobeying the Order and Discipline of the United Methodist Church by preforming a Covenanting Service for two men in North Carolina last April. After the verdict, the Jury returned to deliberate the penalty. The Jury returned around 3:45 p.m. and stated that they had agreed on the punishment. The Reverend Jimmy Creech was to be stripped of his Elders and Deacons Orders in the United Methodist Church. As he punishment was ordered by Bishop Grove, the presiding Bishop, there was total silence in the Trinity UMC sanctuary.
In the above, I have tried to share some of the facts as I remember them. Now I want to shift to my thoughts and feeling. As I stated there was silence. It was a very loud silence. The reality of the proceedings of the day was fresh on all of our ears. Many of you have since seen reports on T.V. or heard them on radio or you have read them in news reports. But being present was awe filling. In more than twenty-two years the Nebraska Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church it has not experienced such an event. Sitting in the sanctuary, I felt a strong feeling of pain. I thought to myself, "Yes I agree with the verdict and the punishment, but why did it have to go so far?"
Today as I write this reflection, I am still searching for the right words to express my feelings at that moment in time. Some will not understand my thoughts or why I have chosen to put them in print, however something has said to my spirit put it down for others to read. I think that something is the Holy Spirit. I believe the Christ was grieved yesterday and is still grieved in the wake of the before stated events. When one of our family makes a mistake and the church is forced to act in such away, it brings pain to everyone. Even when the actions of the church are correct and the only course of response, it still hurts. It is like when a parent disciplines his or her child. Each feels the pain of the punishment. The same is true for each member of the family.
We in the Nebraska Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and The United Methodist Church in general stands in need of the prayers of it members and our sisters and brothers in other churches. We stand in need of Christs healing touch. Please pray for us!
D. R. "Buck" Linton-Hendrick, Pastor
Wallace and Grainton United Methodist Parish
Yuka Imma Chisas (Slave of Christ - in Choctaw)
Office: Box 130, Wallace, NE 69169, Phone & FAX:
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