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 Methodists Headed Toward 3rd Same-Sex Covenant Trial

Published Wednesday
October 18, 2000
Methodists Headed Toward 3rd Same-Sex Covenant Trial



Nebraska United Methodists probably will be putting another Omaha pastor on trial for performing a same-sex covenant ceremony, the denomination's new bishop said.

The trial could come as early as next month, Bishop Rhymes Moncure Jr. of Lincoln said Tuesday.

The trial would decide the fate of the Rev. Mark Kemling of Omaha, who performed a covenant ceremony for two men in June despite a church ban on such ceremonies.

Although the Nebraska conference's Committee on Investigation hasn't made a final ruling as to whether a trial is warranted, Moncure said, "at this point, it's headed down that path."

Moncure said he wants the matter resolved speedily. "It's my understanding and hope that if and when there is a trial, it will be done quickly. I don't want to drag it out."

A trial would be the third for the Nebraska conference.

In March 1998, the Rev. Jimmy Creech was acquitted for performing a covenant ceremony at First United Methodist Church. A second court, in November 1999 after Creech presided at another union ceremony, convicted him and took away his pastoral credentials.

The first trial cost the Nebraska conference nearly $20,000. The tab for the second Creech trial was $11,000.

Moncure said he hopes that a third trial, if it comes to that, won't be expensive. "There are better ways to spend the church's money," he said.

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