In a huge victory for all United Methodists, charges against Rev. Dr. Tom Ogletree were dismissed without any conditions. Ogletree was facing a church trial for officiating the same-sex wedding of his son. Bishop Martin McLee of New York said in a statement, “I call for and commit to cessation of trials for conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions or performing same-gender wedding ceremonies and instead offer a process of theological, spiritual and ecclesiastical conversation.”
In the Lenten season we remember the journey of another prophet who was put on trial and martyred by church leaders—Jesus Christ. For the second time in six months a pastor was facing a church trial for presiding at his son’s wedding. Ogletree, ethics professor and former dean at Yale and Drew seminaries, refused to renounce his actions, believing that the ministries of the Church are for all people, including his own son who happens to be gay.
In a statement from MIND, Ogletree said:
“I am grateful that Bishop McLee has withdrawn this case and the church is no longer prosecuting me for an act of pastoral faithfulness and fatherly love, but I am even more grateful that he is vowing not to prosecute others who have been likewise faithful in ministry to LGBTQ people. May our bishop’s commitment to cease such prosecutions be the beginning of the end of The United Methodist Church’s misguided era of discriminating against LGBTQ people.”
“We celebrate Bishop Martin McLee’s decision to choose Biblical Obedience over discriminatory trials which persecute acts of faithfulness to the Gospel,” said RMN executive director Matt Berryman. “We hope this just resolution signals a change of heart in Church leadership and a repentance from silencing love. Reconciling Ministries Network is committed to Biblical Obedience as we believe scripture, the life of Jesus, and even the fullness of the Book of Discipline call us to stand with the marginalized and oppressed by doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. Especially during Lent, we hope the Church has learned from the persecution of Jesus and the Biblical and contemporary prophets who showed us following the law of love is the better way.”
We give God thanks for prophets like Rev. Dr. Tom Ogletree and the many others—laity, clergy, and congregations—who have signed an Altar for All, professing their unwavering commitment to the Gospel and engaging in Biblical Obedience by doing the right thing. RMN is thankful for Dr. Dorothee Benz and the rest of the MIND team who have supported Ogletree and are a light shining on a hill, piercing the darkness. May the Church use this time of Lent to cease hiding behind unjust parts of our Discipline and turn away from the sin of discrimination as we keep an eye toward the coming Resurrection.
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Reconciling Ministries Network mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.
Press contact: Rev. Andy Oliver, director of communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 312-448-5305