From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Open house to celebrate diversity at Omaha United Methodist
14 Apr 1998 15:26:36
April 14, 1998 Contact: Linda Green*(615)742-5470*Nashville, Tenn.
By United Methodist News Service
First United Methodist Church of Omaha, Neb., is planning an April 19
open house and rally to celebrate the community's diversity and
Church members announced the event in an April 11 advertisement in the
Omaha World-Herald. The ad expressed support for the church and invited
readers to the event, which will be from 2 to 5 p.m.
First United Methodist Church has been embroiled in controversy since
September, when its pastor, the Rev. Jimmy Creech, performed a union
ceremony for two women. The service, held against the instructions of
Nebraska Area Bishop Joel Martinez, led to Creech's suspension and a
much-publicized church trial. Creech was acquitted on March 13 and
reinstated as pastor.
Two weeks before the ad appeared, more than 100 Omaha-area churches
bought their own newspaper ad in which they censured the union ceremony
at First Church.
The April 11 announcement wasn't in response to the earlier ad, Creech
said. The congregation already had been working on getting signatures of
support, he said.
The latest ad was to acknowledge the positive response the church has
received from the community, he said.
"The World-Herald has in its reports emphasized the negatives occurring
in the congregation," he said. "It has not recognized the strong spirit
in the church, the active participation of the members nor the support
from the larger community. The ad was an opportunity for people to
express where they stand."
The First Church ad was signed by members of the congregation and people
of other faiths, along with several ministers and rabbis, organizations,
and elected officials. U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey was among the more than 300
people affirming support for First Church in the ad .
Anne Boyle, a member of the Nebraska Public Service Commission and a
Catholic, wrote a preamble to the advertisement.
"For as long as I am able to remember, Omahans have acted with
intelligence, tolerance and understanding when solving important but
potentially divisive issues," she said. "Some of the public comments and
actions regarding First United Methodist Church are uncharacteristic for
the people of our city. As the Christian community reflects on the
meaning of Easter, there is no better time than now to forgive one
another and to accept our differing views without fear of alienation.
"We, the undersigned, express support to First United Methodist
Church-Omaha, its pastors, its members, and all of its nurturing
United Methodist News Service
Releases and photos also available at
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .