Still wishing he could resume calling in UMC

Twenty-three years ago, I surrendered my ministerial credentials rather than lie to a church I felt called to and which was an integral part of my being. My EUB and then UM church had taught me that lying wasn’t normally an ethical or healthy experience, and I knew I couldn’t survive living a lie. So I left.

This past Sunday I finally had the incredible joy of going to Washington, D.C., and marrying the partner with whom I’ve cohabitated for the last 24 years. We’ve raised two incredible children (both married by the way—our influence was minimal!), and we were the first to babysit our first grandchild, which we do now on a very regular basis.

Life is incredibly good for us: Families have been accepting, and friends have been supportive. To be honest, we’ve been Ozzie and Ozzie; there’s just been no Harriet. We’re good people, good citizens, incredibly fortunate people. But, all these years later, there’s still a void in my life. I’ve moved on, but as a spouse who will never fully get over the loss of their significant other, and occasionally think of them with sometimes a smile, sometimes a tear, I still miss my church.

My relationship now meets “fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness” criteria, but my guess is I’m still not welcome back in the way I believe I am called to be. I could go to any other mainline Protestant denomination now and serve fully in the way God has called me to serve. I still can’t in my own United Methodist Church. I’ve not been an active church member because for me it has been too painful. I am writing because I don’t want you to forget about me and the many people like me. Just because we aren’t there doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten the church we love. Will your doors ever fully open to us? That is my prayer!

Gregory A. Wise

York, Pa.

Former member, Baltimore-Washington Conference

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9 Comments on "Still wishing he could resume calling in UMC"

The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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God bless you, Gregory.


Move to the West Coast. You will find annual conferences out there far more friendly and willing to help you return to pastoral ministry, with your partner. It will take some effort and expense, but if that is where your heart is, then 'Go West, young man, Go West!


You and your lovely family are in my prayers Gregory. I'm praying I too may be able to pursue my call in this denomination as well.

gwennap pit
As we approach the 495th anniversary (October 31, 1517) of the 'start' of the Reformation by Martin Luther, I pray that once more the Spirit of reformation would sweep over the church. I am increasingly finding it difficult to reconcile the statements of condemnation of my homosexual brothers and sisters with the Gospel as proclaimed in the scriptures. If sexuality is a gift from God then who is the church to say that your gift as you understand it is "incompatible with Christian teaching?" "The distinguishing marks of a Methodist are not his opinions of any sort. His assenting to… Read more »
There seems to be some consensus that homosexual people do not choose to have the same-sex attractions and sexual feelings that they experience, but that doesn’t mean that living a homosexual life-style does not involve choices. Homosexual people have a choice as to whether or not to act on their same-sex attractions and sexual feelings. Bi-sexual people make a choice every time they choose to engage in homosexual sex rather than heterosexual sex. Heterosexual people who are married with children and then forsake their marriage and children for a homosexual relationship have made a choice to do so. The fluidity… Read more »

We all have choices to make and consequences to live with. Gregory chose love for another man over love for and service to God. It was honorable of him to choose his love preference, I suppose, but to believe he made the right choice will require that we throw the Bible into the garbage can and use culture and sexual preferences as our moral guide. The apparently idyllic near-term outcomes may not be an accurate predictor of the eternal outcome, though.


As a life time UMC member I am very happy with the way everything work out in Tampa . And with the African vote I feel the doors to my church well be open to me for years and years the feature look better than ever. And the church I love has done the right thing Thank You Jesus for prayers answered.


We will not forget and are working to open doors. Thank you for your witness among us.
Dottie Escobedo-Frank

gwennap pit


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