From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Breakaway group receives permission to start new church

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 05 Oct 1998 14:18:01

Oct. 5, 1998	Contact: Linda Green*(615)742-5470*Nashville, Tenn

By United Methodist News Service

Nebraska United Methodist officials have given the 325 members who broke
away from an Omaha church last spring permission to form a new

The Nebraska Annual (regional) Conference's committee on congregational
development approved a proposal on Sept. 29 to begin a new congregation.
A new United Methodist church will be chartered no later than Nov. 15. 

The members, known as the United Methodist Laity Fellowship, have been
discussing with annual conference officials the possibility of forming a
new church since June.

A male pastor for the new congregation will be appointed Oct. 11, said
the Rev. Ron Croom, Omaha district superintendent. "This person will
match the laity fellowship very well scripturally and theologically," he

Until the church is chartered, the congregation will continue to be
called the United Methodist Laity Fellowship, he said.

The group moved away from the 1,900-member First United Methodist Church
and began worshipping at a high school last spring. Their move came
after the senior pastor, the Rev. Jimmy Creech, was acquitted in a March
clergy trial for performing a same-sex union ceremony. He was not
reappointed to the congregation and has taken a leave of absence from
the ministry. 

The group considered returning to First Church. However, Nebraska Bishop
Joel Martinez appointed the Rev. Donald Bredthauer, an associate pastor
at First Church, to succeed Creech. The laity group was disappointed at
the appointment because Bredthauer, a Creech supporter, also approves of
same-sex ceremonies.

Croom expressed excitement for the new church and the pastoral
leadership it will have.

"The pastor will help them in the different ways they need help in
bringing about healing from their previous experience and help them move
forward to becoming a strong United Methodist church," he said. 

Construction at the high school where the group had been meeting forced
the fellowship members to relocate to the Scottish Rite Cathedral in
downtown Omaha. The members will continue meeting and holding worship
services at the cathedral until a permanent location is found, Croom

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