Some Background for the Complaint Against Anna Blaedel

on August 26, 2019

The UM News Service has reported that I filed a complaint against the Rev. Anna Blaedel for violating the UMC’s longstanding prohibition of “self-avowed practicing homosexual” clergy, and that the Iowa Conference Committee on Investigation (COI) has certified a bill of charges.

Those interested in a three-minute summary of my perspective can scroll down to the italicized text, which I read at the COI hearing earlier this month.

But there is a bit more background.

I am grateful for the professional, non-partisan manner in which the COI completed its work. I am disappointed that Blaedel has since painted a misleading picture of what actually happened with this committee. The UMC Discipline is clear that the only decision before COIs is to judge “whether reasonable grounds exist to support the charges,” and Blaedel could hardly have been more blatant in publicly admitting her violation of our standards.

Recent reports have not mentioned such facts as that I filed this complaint way back in March 2018 (not expecting things to take this long!), and that I have repeatedly made clear my interest in dialogue seeking a just resolution and de-escalation of the conflict. If others are not interested, that’s not my fault.

Contrary to some claims, the complaint was never over Blaedel’s simply “being queer.” I would have no interest in sanctioning a clergywoman who found herself attracted to other women, but was committed to keeping her lifestyle choices within the boundaries of our church’s biblical standards.

Now I’ve been called names and misrepresented in all kinds of ways. A prominent United Methodist Communications staffer expressed his appreciation for another Iowa UMC campus minister displaying photographs of a burned-up Bible (burned by him?) in accusing the COI of having “torched the Gospel.” Representatives of the cabinet of my own bishop, Julius Trimble, endorsed an open letter denouncing me and offering Blaedel their fervent support.

I appreciate greater transparency in such matters, and have not been trying to hide. But for 17 months, I have sought to respect the process with the common understanding that such matters are confidential. Now that Iowa Bishop Laurie Haller has taken the highly unusual step of publicizing details of this ongoing case (including “outing” me as the complainant without any warning or consultation), Blaedel continues speaking publicly, and there is plenty of news reporting, I see no reason not to break my own silence now, presenting my own publicly untold side of the story.

It is no secret that I am committed to the historic, biblical Christian position, that sex is a gift for marriage between one man and one woman, and that all sex outside of this covenant is sinful and ultimately harmful for all involved. This is not merely “my” personal opinion, but rather is THE official position of the UMC and the overwhelming global ecumenical consensus today.

Of course, it is essential that this be understood within a wider Gospel framework. ALL of us are unworthy sinners (none worse than John Lomperis), in desperate need of the redemption only available through the blood of Jesus. Our churches must continue lovingly inviting and welcoming ALL people, including self-identified members of the LGBTQIA+ community, to this free offer of redemption. True salvation necessarily involves beginning a new life of holiness, for which we all need the church’s guidance and accountability.

No denomination as large and diverse as ours can be remotely functional without a clear system for “how United Methodists agree to live their lives together and ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’” That is the self-description of the UMC Book of Discipline, which all of our clergy have vowed to God and to the rest of the church to uphold. They made these vows as a voluntary, unforced choice. There is a proper process through which anyone may try to persuade a majority of General Conference delegates to change the Discipline.

By all appearances, Blaedel has gone out of her way to invite complaints, repeatedly publicly touting her open defiance of various Discipline standards. To her credit, she has generally not followed the well-worn path of trying to hide behind technicalities and loopholes. Instead, her approach seems to be to push the Discipline’s standards in the faces of those our church trusts with enforcing them, and then challenge these officials to, as someone said at a rally she and others held around the COI hearing, “break the damn rules!”

Our bishops are entrusted with a primary responsibility in responding when clergy veer out-of-control, seeking restoration wherever possible, while prioritizing the protection of those who can be quite vulnerable to harm from someone abusing the authority of ordination in undisciplined ways.

But too often we have seen our bishops choose to shift more of the burden of such situations onto others, in ways that are convenient for themselves.

In early 2015, Bishop Julius Trimble, then of the Iowa Conference, announced a “just resolution” in which he basically prevented the Rev. Dr. Larry Sonner from being meaningfully disciplined after performing a pastorally harmful same-sex union ceremony, in open defiance of our rules.

I have learned that this action of Trimble’s played a very direct and central role in provoking an evangelical congregation in that annual conference, Crosspoint UMC, to leave United Methodism. That congregation appears to be doing well, and has reportedly added a second worship service.

This handling of Sonner’s disobedience effectively resulted in a trade-off: avoid the short-term pain and conflict from seriously disciplining a lone covenant-breaking pastor, even at the price of permanently losing an entire congregation full of other United Methodists.

Did each of these departed Crosspoint UMC members matter less than Larry Sonner, because they were almost all “mere” laity?

Then at the 2016 session of the Iowa Annual Conference, Blaedel went to a microphone to suddenly announce her defiance of our Discipline’s biblical standards on sexual morality. There is zero credibility in claiming that someone who pulls such a publicity stunt did not expect to provoke a complaint process.

It is a matter of public record that after three faithful Iowa Conference pastors filed a complaint in response, Blaedel retaliated by using social media to “dox” information about these pastors’ names and congregations, stoop to a range of shaming and attacks on their characters, express support for vulgar and hateful comments denouncing them, and even openly encourage activists to disrupt the Sunday worship services of these three pastors’ congregations.

Blaedel also encouraged “Reconciling” leader Dorothee Benz to write a public response with the goal of, in the latter’s words, “ripping these men of privilege a new $%^hole.”

Is this really the sort of holy, self-controlled, loving, Christian language and behavior that the true “mainstream” of United Methodists expect of our clergy?

After all that these pastors went through, Bishop Trimble ultimately took the extraordinary action of just dismissing their complaint, letting Blaedel completely off the hook. And he chose to wait until his final day as Iowa’s bishop, August 31, 2016, for notice of his decision to be delivered, giving neither the original complaint filers nor anyone else meaningful time to respond to him before Trimble packed his bags and transferred to Indiana. The pain and negative consequences this made worse for others were no longer his problem at that point.

While Blaedel often portrays herself as a victim, I have not seen anyone in the evangelical renewal movement aim similar language or tactics against her as what she encourages against others. Had this ever happened, I would be the first to call it out.

I have no intention of “harming” anyone, and no one has informed me of any substantial “harm” that has come to Blaedel from my complaint. (Her recent scaling back of her campus ministry work had nothing to do with my complaint, but instead apparently reflects her own wishes to redirect her focus, and perhaps some struggles with her campus ministry’s financial support base.) Instead, she has so far eagerly used this complaint processes to gain a publicity for herself and as a hook in raising money for herself.

In contrast, after enduring harassment from all around the country, all three of the original complaint filers have now left United Methodist parish ministry. One of them has planted a new congregation outside of the UMC.

Once again, whatever his intent, Bishop Trimble effectively imposed a trade-off: driving out three faithful United Methodist pastors, including a church-planter, so that United Methodist congregations would be deprived of their gifts and graces in future rounds of appointment “musical chairs.” And setting a dangerous precedent of the Discipline’s prohibition of clergy engaging in “relationships and/or behavior that undermines the ministry of another [United Methodist] pastor” being callously ignored within the Iowa Conference. All for the sake of avoiding drawing a firm line against one minister’s reckless, destructive disregard for either the UMC’s standards or for the ministry of other UMC pastors.

Blaedel continued, in her own words, “flagrantly breaking the rules.” In June 2017, Iowa’s new Bishop, Laurie Haller, announced a “just resolution” for Blaedel’s having performed a pastorally harmful same-sex union ceremony, against our rules. Then in October, the UMC Judicial Council specifically said that if there was a record of Blaedel making “a self-avowing statement since that date” of September 1, 2016, then “the current bishop would have a duty to initiate proceedings under Discipline ¶362 in accordance with JCD 920 and 1341.” But despite this ruling and subsequent self-avowal statements, Bishop Haller did not initiate a complaint.

And so the covenant-breaking continued, along with the consequent harm, and continuing risks for United Methodist congregations, without any evidence of repentance and remorse on Blaedel’s part, even for what had been done in her name against her former “colleagues in ministry.”

So as a last resort, I filed the complaint in March 2018, making clear that I was only doing so “reluctantly, with a heavy heart.” The three pastors who filed the first complaint against Blaedel, and the seventeen Iowa Conference clergy and laity who filed a complaint against Bishop Trimble for his mishandling of that matter (a complaint that reached its own just resolution) have already made it sufficiently clear that such matters are of concern to numerous members of the Iowa Conference.

I figured I would be much less vulnerable to retaliation and abuse than anyone under the oppressive atmosphere taking hold in Iowa. Yet I was still living within driving distance of the Iowa Conference headquarters, and willing to participate in any meetings.

Within days, someone mailed me a rather obscene, genitalia-themed package.

But overall, while liberal, “inclusive” United Methodists will doubtless continue responding with all sorts of anger, hate, and false attacks on my character and my leadership of IRD’s UMAction program, it’s hard to see how it gets much worse than what they’ve already thrown my way.

I remain open to dialogue. But if Blaedel chooses to refuse any just resolution, then that means a church trial. As one Iowa Conference friend recently remarked, if Blaedel values the good of the Iowa Conference above herself, then she has a rather unique ability to spare it the cost and trouble of a church trial.

Of course, if others entrusted with enforcing the Discipline were to betray this trust by avoiding real accountability, then they would impose even more costs on the Iowa Conference than a single church trial.

We could then expect a newly emboldened Blaedel to continue recklessly disregarding church standards and her covenant obligations to other United Methodists. The harm, pain, and losses of people and finances would increase. We could expect God to raise up someone to file a fifth complaint, perhaps for the same offense, or perhaps for something else, like harassment, undermining other pastors’ ministries, or performing another pastorally harmful same-sex union. Or perhaps something related to Blaedel’s apparent dabbling in neo-pagan occult practices.

The last is in reference to how, while making her public case against the COI’s decision, Blaedel casually mentioned her personal practice of “tarot,” without elaboration. Tarot cards are a fortune-telling tool popular in some New Age and neo-pagan circles. Scripture has plenty of warnings against practicing divination (see Leviticus 19:31, 20:6; Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Isaiah 8:19; and Acts 19:19). Pope Francis recently called tarot cards idolatry. Apparently, Blaedel’s rejection of biblical authority is not limited to its teachings about sexual morality.

Church jurors could finally do right by the Iowa Conference and our church as a whole, stopping the chain of one draining complaint process after another. They can have the courage to finally say that NO clergy in our denomination, no matter how favored by some political factions, is above the law or is entitled to free rein to break our covenant all he or she wants, no matter how many people keep getting hurt along the way.

Let us keep this situation in prayer.

In the meantime, here is the statement I made at the COI hearing:

I am a longtime United Methodist, lover of Wesleyan theology, elected General Conference delegate, and someone who deeply loves our church.

There has been some protest of how I, like my former schoolmate Tyler [in reference to Dr. Tyler Schwaller, Blaedel’s advocate], don’t live in Iowa.  But we’re a connectional church.  We’re the same jurisdiction.  I have lived all around the country, and been part of United Methodist congregations in six annual conferences.

It’s the same church that welcomed me when my questions were not welcome in a more conservative church, the church that helped me come to know Jesus, and the church into which my children are baptized. 

For me, this complaint was never about saying no gay people are welcome. 

We laity give A LOT of trust, that our system will only send us pastors who have been vetted as women and men who keep their vows and submit to United Methodist standards.

I have seen the great harm that comes when clergy break their end of the trust we have with them.  I have seen congregations, including some of mine, devastated after being sent pastors who betray the trust of the Church. 

Connectionalism embraces Paul’s teaching that when one suffers, we all suffer.  Rev. Blaedel’s repeated choices of disobedience have directly or indirectly led to a lot of suffering.  Pastors in this conference who challenged her previous disobedience got harassed and bullied.  Blaedel’s ongoing disobedience and the lack of accountability have actually driven at least three faithful Iowa Conference pastors out of [United Methodist] parish ministry.  Also in reaction to such disobedience, other Iowa congregations have lost people and money.  Within days of my filing this complaint, someone mailed an obscene package to my home. 

Is this really the sort of healthy, loving behavior and human flourishing we want to continue unchecked, with one violation after another, no matter how many people and churches keep getting hurt?                    

This committee’s role is only to look at the evidence, all within the statute of limitations, including Blaedel’s directly telling you, quote: I am, indeed, a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.”  Judicial Council Decision 1351 said that “clearly” a complaint would be needed for any self-avowal statement she made after September 1, 2016.

Yesterday, Blaedel’s own friend M Barclay wrote on social media, quote, “There is certainly every reason to declare the charges of Anna’s queer practice have merit” and that if the committee follows our Church’s policies “they’ll have to say ‘yes’ to the merit.”

No fair-minded observer could see any reasonable grounds for doing anything other than certifying charges.  Any other result would be devastating for mutual trust, respect, and ability to work together. 

Beyond this committee, the trial court would make the ultimate decision.  Alternatively, I have repeatedly made clear my interest in dialoguing about seeking a just resolution, but have never been given that chance. 

The decision before this committee could not be clearer.  I know it’s hard to hear anger and protests.  But we must never let anyone intimidate or peer-pressure us in to acting with anything less than the full honesty and integrity God expects in His church. 

  1. Comment by Eternity Matters on August 26, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    You have been far more than gracious to her and the rest of the LGBTQX lobby. But their reactions are predictable. They are wolves whose goal it is to undermine Christianity. They and their supporters are as phony as can be. Shame on the wimpy Christians who avoided conflict and let these fakes into the church, let alone into leadership positions!

    Remember, the men of Sodom persisted and “groped for the door” even after being literally blinded by God. The LGBTQX lobby will never stop, so never appease them!

  2. Comment by Patsy Keltner on September 1, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    It is a shame that our UMC is in such stress. The discipline is our book of law based on the Bible. It needs to be followed. I am thankful for the ones that stand up for what is right. Our Bishops are disgraceful. We love sinners but not their sin. I believe this is what Jesus taught us. If the blind leads the blind they will both fall in the ditch.It is up to us what we do with our lives. Jesus died so we can get rid of sins. No, we aren’t born to live in sin . That is the mindset the devil has given people. We will all have to stand before the judgement seat of Christ. Please let us not destroy our UMC but stand for the Biblical account. Thank those that have the courage to speak out about these sins. God bless.

  3. Comment by Beth Ann Cook on August 26, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you for taking a principled and courageous stand. Praying for you and your family.

  4. Comment by Mike Written on August 27, 2019 at 1:15 am

    My first impression after reading your article is that the Iowa Conference wants to “sweep the charges under the carpet.” The COI should have acted by now. Praying that God will intervene and that justice will be served. Keep up the good work. Praying for you and your family.

  5. Comment by Matthew Gotthardt on August 27, 2019 at 5:35 am

    Thank you for your courage, your diligence and clarity in explaining the situation and framework . The Byzantine machinations and subterfuge by the ecclesiastical bureaucracy of the UMC are illustrated.

  6. Comment by Steve Longenecker on August 27, 2019 at 6:31 am

    Thanks, John! You are standing in the gap left by people of less integrity! I be praying for Holy Spirit protection.

  7. Comment by Rev. Randy Kiel on August 27, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Bless you, Mr. Lomperis, for standing up for the right as more and more in our society lean left and stand for wrong.

  8. Comment by T Matejka on August 27, 2019 at 11:24 am

    No matter the spin by anyone the truth eventually comes out. The weakness of many of the Bishops and clergy is sad. They are more interested in promoting worldly answers instead of Biblical answers and directions. Nothing in our past societies is much different from our existing culture accept there are fewer people in this world who will lay down their lives for the lord and the spin masters are much more educated and professional. It is not because they do not want to follow the Bible teachings, but because of so little faith that makes them believe togetherness is more important than following the Lord.

  9. Comment by Karen Friel on August 27, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Sorry John, you lost me in Paragraph 4 when you determined that Anna’s being queer is a lifestyle choice. God made her this way. I did give you the courtesy of reading to the end. I’m sorry you feel victimized because others don’t agree with you. Imagine how she must feel.

  10. Comment by Patrick98 on August 27, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Hi Karen,

    This is the great divide in theology. Are human beings fallen creatures, affected by sin? If no, then everything about us is good since it is all created by God. If we were created good but fallen, then our sexuality can also be affected by sin. By your remarks, which I have heard and read from many others “God made her this way” I surmise you do not believe that her sexual desires are fallen. Others of us do believe her (and our) sexual desires are fallen and in need of the redemption only found in Christ Jesus.

    This would be a good topic for discussion: Are we human beings fallen or not fallen (affected by sin or not affected by sin)? If so, is the sinful condition complete (affecting all parts of us) or is it partial (affecting parts of us but not all of us).

    This theological divide has split other denominations, and now is splitting United Methodism.

  11. Comment by Ralph on August 28, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Ahh… the old “God made me this way” excuse. So did God make some people pedophiles as well? Using your line of reasoning – if a pedophile is “made this way” does that somehow justify their having sex with children and make their sexual perversion ok with God? The problem with the “God made me this way” argument is that anyone wanting to justify their sin can blame God for their sinfulness. They use this excuse as their justification to continue living in sin ignoring the lessons of Scripture. Those of us that are a bit more fearful of sin realize that Scripture is clear as to the acceptable standards of sexuality of which homosexuality is not among them.

  12. Comment by Jane P Ives on November 14, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Comparing homosexuals who desire to be in a committed, loving relationship to pedophiles is offensive. Pedophiles do harm. Where is the harm in a same gender marriage?

  13. Comment by John Smith on August 29, 2019 at 6:50 am

    Funny, I thought we were conceived in sin. Is God now the author of sin? But, let’s assume (since there is a lack of objective evidence for that political talking point) God made them (and us) that way. God put some people in the wrong bodies (trans)? Wait, what? God put people in broken bodies-should we stop corrective surgeries? (Oh, I forgot God’s plan of abortion to rid us of those we don’t want or are inconvenient.
    No more Down’s Syndrome in Iceland-great victory.)
    We were conceived in, born in, live in sin. The message of God, proclaimed by and imperfectly lived by the church is that we can be reclaimed, renewed and transformed by God from the power of sin and death despite our overwhelming desire to embrace it.

  14. Comment by Search4Truth on September 16, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Interesting! G. K. Chesterton clearly points out that “Original Sin” is the only empirically provable doctrine of Christianity. Please provide your source evidence.

  15. Comment by Charles Cox on August 27, 2019 at 11:47 am

    I’m curious about your statement that “I have repeatedly made clear my interest in dialoguing about seeking a just resolution.” What would you view as a “just resolution”? Is the complainant in this process able to reach a resolution of the complaint, outside of the process set up by the Discipline?

  16. Comment by Linda Butler on August 27, 2019 at 11:51 am

    You have included a statement you supposedly made at the hearing.
    You were not at the hearing. You have not met Anna Blaedel.
    Thank you for the link to Anna’s FB post. I had forgotten the positive, supportive , and grace filled comments.

  17. Comment by John Lomperis on August 28, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Funny, I didn’t see you there.

  18. Comment by Curtis Edwards on August 27, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    “Those who remain in the middle of a Sodom & Gomorrah denomination” will wind up as guilty as the Sodomites themselves….Let’s take a deeper look and see why the union between liberals & conservatives needs to exist at all. Then, obey scripture: “Come out from among them and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing and I will recieve you.”

  19. Comment by Carol Tatum on August 27, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    The leftist pastors and bishops have high jacked our beloved denomination!

  20. Comment by Carl Fuglein on November 2, 2019 at 1:27 am

    You just hit the nail directly on the head. How did we elect all these liberal bishops? I’m saddled with a liberal Bishop, DS, and Pastor. This is NOT the UMC I became affiliated with in 1968

  21. Comment by Jane P Ives on November 14, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Aren’t you even the tiniest bit curious about what “progressive” bishops, pastors, and lay persons believe? Your judgment of them not only violates Jesus’s teaching about judging others, but also shuts off all dialogue. I believe you will someday recognize that they are like those who worked on the Underground Railroad and others who worked to free slaves, breaking the law of the land in following a Higher Law. See Matthew 25:31-46.

  22. Comment by Amanda Stephenson on August 27, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    I’m so glad you welcome dialogue regarding this situation. I sent you an email on August 20, 2019 and have not received a reply. Following the Biblical Principal set out before us in Matthew 18 as well in our shared Wesleyan heritage, I contacted you directly. I heard through the grapevine that the pastor of the UMC church you sporadically attend and are a member of is no longer in leadership, so I will be sure to include the DS and/or the Bishop as I continue following Matthew 18.

  23. Comment by JR on August 28, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Hi John,

    I’m curious regarding how many other pastors are on your list? Clearly you feel that the UMC is being harmed by having ‘self avowed practicing’ homosexuals as clergy. And clearly you felt the need to step in and push this situation towards a conclusion.

    How many others?

    [I don’t expect you to name names, out of respect for the confidentiality of the process, but surely you could supply a count of submitted or planned submissions of complaints.]

  24. Comment by Mike on August 30, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    JR, the entire denomination is hurt when clergy behave outside of the Book of Discipline. Jesus himself set a very high bar for those who would teach others. Do clergy sin? Of course they do – all are fallen and need the redemption of the Cross. However, Jesus himself said to the woman caught in adultery, “go now, and leave your life of sin.” After we apologize, we are supposed to make every effort to NOT repeat that sin, out of our devotion to Jesus.

    But the first step is that apology. When someone is clearly in sin, they need to take that first step. It’s difficult to get forgiveness when you don’t believe you need it in the first place.

  25. Comment by Terry on August 28, 2019 at 11:35 am

    It appears that the Kingdom of God is determined by who prevails in a game of Gotcha! Lord, have mercy on us sinners.

  26. Comment by Mike on August 30, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Terry, you know as well as I do that there is no such thing as “spiritual gotcha”. God is, was, and shall be the same. His Words don’t change, nor do His requirements. The UMC has had these rules for their clergy for a very long time – longer than any active ministers who took the oath to uphold the Book of Discipline.

    This isn’t a case of “who can we pursue next”…it’s more a case of “who should have never been allowed to teach others, based upon the rules that they agreed to in the beginning of their ministry.”

  27. Comment by Terry on September 5, 2019 at 3:29 am

    Mike, I agree with everything you wrote above. I’m not clear what my problem is. My use of “gotcha” was probably not the best way to describe the unwillingness to accept God’s truth, as well as lot of arrogance from all corners of the issue.

  28. Comment by Ralph on August 28, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Keep up the good work John. I’ll be praying for you. Something that has bothered me for some time is that the UMC leadership seem to ignore blatant violations of the Book of Discipline. Seems that there is a huge disconnect between the USA UMC Bishops and the majority of the denomination as seen by the gnashing of teeth regarding the recent “Traditional Plan”. If the Book of Discipline rules are not going to be followed and enforced – then why do we have them? I’m very wary that nothing of consequence will be done in the case of Rev. Blaedel – even if it actually goes to trial. It seems to me that too many in positions of USA UMC leadership embrace the LGBTQ agenda and are personally opposed to the denominations stance regarding homosexuality as outlined in the Book of Discipline and will do whatever they can to avoid the issue or allow it to continue – the Book of Discipline be darned.

  29. Comment by John Smith on August 29, 2019 at 6:36 am

    “Did each of these departed Crosspoint UMC members matter less than Larry Sonner, because they were almost all “mere” laity?”

    To quote the great sage Homer: “Well duuuuh.” If the past several years have proved nothing else its the contempt in which the “elders” hold the laity. Occasionally thinly disguised since the sheep pay the bills but their main purpose is to be fleeced.

  30. Comment by JR on August 29, 2019 at 2:59 pm


    Of course, that only applies to “progressive” [note the scare quotes] elders, right? Those WCA-affiliated elders, no contempt there. And those folks that have the MDiv but didn’t want to go all in to be clergy, they’re just good people too. Probably those types didn’t want to be tainted by the “progressive” [note the scare quotes] elders…

  31. Comment by John Smith on August 30, 2019 at 5:38 am

    Only the progressives? Where did you get that? Have you not noted how Bishops protect Bishops regardless of politics? Oh, a little carping here, the occasional comment but action, discipline, being held accountable? How many problems with ordained elders get handled quietly? It is more noticeable with the progressives at the moment due to the politics, anger, and open power struggle which cause more light to shine in but that too will pass.

  32. Comment by Rev Duke on August 30, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    What would a just resolution look like?

  33. Comment by Richard Bell on August 30, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    “Break the rules!”
    “Enforce the rules!”
    Now, these cries, if acted on enough times, will provoke changes of bad rules. The Church will celebrate homosexual marriages just as it celebrates heterosexual marriages, in accordance with God’s will revealed in Scripture.
    Do you deny that God wills same-sex marriage by the Church? Is your mind yet slightly open? Are you able to understand somewhat scholarly writing, interpreting Scripture in accordance with generally-accepted traditional methods? If so, read my essay, which not only makes an affirmative case but refutes all the conservatives’ arguments that I know of, and which has survived criticism by a score of learned and mature Christian scholars, including eminent seminary professors. Ask for a copy by email:

  34. Comment by Mike on August 30, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    What does the Bible say? Is it a document to be believed? Is it the inerrant word of God or is it not?

    Your answer to that question colors your viewpoint on sexuality within the clergy.

    And no, I do not believe that God created homosexuality. It is a perversion of something he DID create. This is a common theme in the Bible – watching people (and Satan) pervert the good things that God made.

  35. Comment by JR on September 3, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Jesus didn’t read the scriptures as the inerrant word of God, and neither should you.

  36. Comment by Jane P Ives on November 14, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Do you believe God created autistic persons? Disabled? Blind? Mentally retarded? Then why not homosexuals? As a special education teacher I learned to think about birth differences instead of defects and worked to find ways to help them live full lives.

  37. Comment by Stephen Watkin on August 31, 2019 at 3:57 am

    1) “her lifestyle choices“ – ignorant bigotry. Gay/lesbian people may need the lifelong commitment and relationship with another person just as a heterosexual may. It’s not a choice. I know this to be true. I’ve been with my same sex male partner for over 12 years, and not once in my lifetime have I been sexually attracted to a woman.

    2) Rev. Dr. Larry Sonner was not pastorally harmful by performing a same-sex union ceremony. He was pastorally providing the same service he would to a heterosexual couple. The rules are based on ancient dogma and bigotry, not based on the foundation of a church which is to love one another as Jesus showed us.

    3) Mr Lomperis, when you say above, “here is the statement I made at the COI hearing” …were you actually at the hearing then, or is that factually untrue?

    The rest of your piece here is diatribe pandering to others with the same backward views that belong in a knuckle dragging past. Really, it’s like those who justified separating folk based on their skin color, or prohibiting interracial marriage, the shameful past in this country of us Ring/trading in slaves. Needs consignment to the trash can. Let the Africans and Philippians continue with it until they grow out of it, but let’s not be a part of this cr@p any more.

  38. Comment by John Smith on September 4, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Which part of Bible isn’t ancient dogma?

  39. Comment by Joe on August 31, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Richard Bell,
    Sorry, but you’ll need to give a valid email address if you really want people to read your essay.

  40. Comment by Paul Rairden on August 31, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Maybe it is time to find some new leadership starting with Bishop Trimble to do something else in the Church.

  41. Comment by Lamar Aiazzi on September 1, 2019 at 5:58 am

    I can only echo what others have said: You’re doing well, John, keep fighting.

  42. Comment by Blue on September 9, 2019 at 9:29 am

    Is there a point in calling the United Methodist Church Methodist or a Wesleyan church anymore? We are so far off into the weeds as “each one has turned to his own way,” that aside from the use of associated words and his and his brother Charle’s hymns, John Wesley would not recognize the UMC as resembling his Christian movement.

  43. Comment by Carl Fuglein on November 2, 2019 at 1:36 am

    Let’s just get this thing over with. It’s embarrassing me to the point that I won’t be a disciple and invite people to my church. And I’m scared to death of who we’ll get next as our bishop – it seems that most of them are liberal. We’ve already suffered one for 8 years. How did that happen? I even wrote to her about some church issues, and she merely threw me under the bus.

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