An interview with Amy DeLong

The Rev. Amy Delong expresses her feelings of not being heard or included to Bishop Bruce Ough.A UMNS photo by Kathleen S. Barry.

The Rev. Amy Delong expresses her feelings of not being heard or included to Bishop Bruce Ough.
A UMNS photo by Kathleen S. Barry.

The Rev. Amy DeLong will not be ignored. DeLong, a clergy member from the Wisconsin Annual Conference first came to prominence in the United Methodist Church when she was put on trial for coming out as a lesbian and officiating at the union of a lesbian couple (informing the annual conference of both) in 2011. While she was acquitted of being  a “self-avowed practicing homosexual,” the trial jury found her guilty of violating the prohibition against conducting ceremonies celebrating same-gender unions, choosing to award her a 20 day suspension for her action.  A year later DeLong would be seen again as one of the leaders of the disruptions of the 2013 General Conference in Tampa during the deliberations on sexuality concerns. DeLong now serves on the leadership team of Love Prevails, an independent organization working for the end of discrimination of GLBTQ persons in the life of the United Methodist Church .

Last week Love Prevails disrupted the meeting of The Connection Table (CT), leading to CT to change their agenda so as to devote time talking about GLBTQ concerns in the life of the church. That afternoon DeLong gave a short interview to The United Methodist Reporter:

What were your goals for this action?
Our goals are to start bearing witness to the faithfulness of GLBT people (not really start, we’ve been doing it for four years) but we know that the legislation writing and relationship building tactics that we’ve used in the past have not been enough — we continue to be ignored and pushed aside — and so we’re trying to encourage folks to disclose the things that they’re doing around weddings, around being gay, about being bisexual transgender, asking people to divest their prayers, presence, gifts, service from an institution that continues to oppress and to disrupt business as usual when needed.

How do you think the Connectional Table responded to you this morning?
Initially I think it was disturbing to have our presence be completely ignored and when pressed to act like Christians they did better, but we have sat at a lot of tables and heard a lot of good speeches so how they respond to us and LGBT concerns, only time will tell? It hasn’t been mentioned again all afternoon, so if that was just a placating moment (which we’re fairly used to) then we will decide what to do next. If it was a genuine attempt to try to do things differently then we will work with them on that.

We are in a weird juxtaposition between the meeting here and the Frank Schaefer trial in Pennsylvania today. Did you experience anything here to give you hope?
First of all I don’t think there is a strange juxtaposition here . . . I think all of the things we do are connected. As I said in there, we cannot build a church around open hearts, open minds, open doors if we continue at our very core to oppress and discriminate. There is no such thing as covenant in the midst of discrimination and oppression. Do I have hope? I couldn’t call myself Christian if I didn’t. I don’t know what that looks like or what it means, but if I didn’t have hope I wouldn’t be here.

It sounded through Twitter and other social media that some of the sermons in the worship times at The Connectional Table meeting were advocating for greater inclusivity of GLBT persons. Did you have any sense that was happening?
I disagree with those perceptions. What gets used is just code language . . . it was code in the sermon yesterday, it code in other parts. We had more people from the Connectional Table come up to us and say, “Who is this Frank [Schaefer] guy?” who have no idea that one of our own is on trial in Pennsylvania right now. The disconnection at The Connectional Table, the disconnection the people have between the work that they’re doing and the ongoing oppression of the church is really disturbing when you think of the bubble that folks live in.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and MethoBlog.com. Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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7 Comments on "An interview with Amy DeLong"

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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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Wes Andrews
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I would wager (oh, UMs are not supposed to gamble, oops) that many of our Bishops would not be able to openly and honesty commit to the Wesley's Historic questions.

Wes Andrews
Guest

Love Prevails is not about love. It's about bullying and the Bishops let her do it and it is destroying the church. Shame on our leadership.

Bob
Guest

DeLong and Love Prevails are not "working for the end of discrimination of GLBTQ persons in the life of the United Methodist Church." They are demanding unmitigated acceptance of all forms of homosexual practice by all persons connected with the United Methodist Church – no matter what – and they will stop at nothing less. Schism is inevitable.

MLT
Guest

Love Prevails is working for acceptance of all forms of loving relationships, regardless of gender. It's about love. Sex is just one expression of love.

Jay
Guest

Thank God, for Rev. Amy DeLong. She and Love Prevails are prophetic voices that may be able to save the soul of a church that is turning away from God's offer of love to all his creation.

MethodistPie
Guest

All I know is this: Amy DeLong got to have a parade on the floor of General Conference when most everyone else was told to stand behind the ropes, lest we get too close to a bishop, delegate, whatever. The idea that Amy & friends are not heard/seen/whatever is nonsense.

Diane Hawk
Guest

Members of the Connectional Table need to get on board with Twitter..They need to know what is happening before UMNS writes the report. Someone needs to train them.

wpDiscuz
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