Last night, supporters of Rev. Amy Delong drove in to the small town of Kaukauna, Wisconsin. They drove from Minnesota, Illinois, and Ohio. Supporters are also flying in from Massachusetts to Oregon, North Carolina and New York, Tennessee and New Mexico. We gathered to be nourished for the trial ahead. Well over one hundred faithful United Methodists ate comfort food and shared warm hugs much like a family reunion. Amy’s United Methodist family she has grown through a life of ministry.
Amy’s team has been meeting for over 18 months as the trial has been delayed over and over again replacing the church prosecutors five times and the bishop convener once. The team has prayed and planned and last night led us in worship grounding the group in scripture, song, and word. Word preached by Amy on texts from Ezekiel, 2nd Corinthians, and Matthew. You immediately know how powerful the many regional Kairos Ko-Motions were that Amy organized in Wisconsin. Together, the gathered watered a tree that will be planted in Amy and Val’s yard with symbolic vials of tears shed in pain and sorrow over the very real harm caused by anti-gay policies to very real people called to serve God.
The nimble leaders continue to adapt plans for today as an opening devotion is moved from the nearby park to a parking lot just outside the church sharing that it has been “like watching a ball bounce and trying to follow it.” At 9 a.m., the team will proffer evidence from witnesses that has been denied for the trial itself but will be included in the official records of the trial.
Here in Kaukauna we have been fed. We have found one another to hold and to strengthen. Keep Amy’s team in your prayers. And we will keep you in ours as you receive this news of the church putting love on trial where you without this gathered community. May you reach out and find God in those nearby too. Amy’s sermon from last night is posted under resources at www.loveontrial.org under worship liturgy.
Prior to RMN, Troy served for 13 years on the pastoral staff of Bering Memorial United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. He directed Bering’s on-site counseling center for those affected by HIV/AIDS. Outside Bering’s sanctuary in 1999, he performed a “street wedding” for a lesbian couple celebrating 25 years together and facilitated Bering’s equal treatment of all couples policy. He also coordinated Bible Study, mission trips, retreats, and nonviolence training. Facing a bomb threat with 50 other couples, Troy and Walter, shared promises and rings on Freedom To Marry Day, February 12, 2003 for their 5th anniversary.