Petition Supports Pastor Who Performed Same-Sex Union

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The United Methodist Church is considering discipline against Rev. Bill McElvaney. The retired pastor performed a same-sex union for a couple of more than 50 years in early March. (Published Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014)

    Supporters of a retired United Methodist Church pastor are taking their issue right to church offices.

    On Tuesday morning, volunteers, some with the group "Faithful America," presented a petition to the office of UMC Bishop Michael McKee.

    Bearing more than 22,000 signatures from around the United States, it calls for the church to drop any discipline proceedings against retired Rev. Bill McElvaney.

    McElvaney performed a commitment ceremony for two men, both longtime members of Northaven United Methodist Church in North Dallas, as well as partners of 53 years.

    "The marriage of George and Jack is a sign of God's love," said McElvaney during the ceremony.

    The couple celebrated the union, not legally recognized by the state of Texas, at Midway Hills Christian Church.

    The UMC does not condone homosexuality, nor does it allow same-sex unions to be performed in its churches.

    In a written letter to his congregation, McElvaney revealed he'd been suspended from clergy responsibilities and that the church felt his actions required a bishop's "supervisory response".

    Supporters of the petition want disciplinary proceedings stopped.

    "He performed the ceremony out of love — as are all ceremonies," said Larry Barber, a volunteer with Faithful America.

    "Even though that's their theme — to have an open heart, they're turning people away," said former pastor Pamela J. Webb, referring to the UMC.

    In his statement. McElvaney requested prayers from his supporters and asked people to take no further action in response to the church's concerns.