Rev. Amy Delong, tried by Methodists for being a lesbian, to preach at Bering Memorial Methodist Church

Rev. Amy DeLong

Paperwork can be the bane of any job. For Rev. Amy Delong a simple annual report catapulted her into the maelstrom of the United Methodist Church’s debate on accepting LGBT people. DeLong visits Houston’s Bering Memorial United Methodist Church (1440 Harold) on Sunday, Feb. 12 to preach at both the 8:30 and 10:50 service.

In 2009 DeLong was approached by two women who wanted to get married. After conducting premarital counseling with the couple Delong agreed to perform the ceremony. As a clergy person, DeLong was required to report on her activities at the end of the year, including any weddings she had performed. She knew that the Methodist Church did not allow same-sex marriage but thought “I don’t know if anybody even reads these.” Boy, was she wrong!

With-in three days she was hauled into the her boss’s (the bishop) office. DeLong’s relationship with her partner Val was well known to her colleagues. “I’ve never had a bishop or a leader in the church or a pastor who didn’t know that I was gay,” says DeLong. “Everyone knows Val.” But the church was determined now to make an example of her, and DeLon’s relationship would now be an issue.

In 2011 DeLong was tried in the church’s court with violating the Methodist “Book of Discipline” by being in a same-sex relationship and by performing a same-sex wedding. During the trial she refused to answer pointed questions about her and her partner’s sex life. “No heterosexual couples are ever asked if they
still engage in genital contact in their marriages,” says DeLong. That refusal left the court with no evidence against her on the first charge.

She was convicted of performing the wedding and suspended from ministry for 20 days. The court also required DeLong to work with a group of ministers to prepare a statement on how to “help resolve issues that harm the clergy covenant, create an advesarial spirit or lead to future trails.” “This sentence is complicated,” says DeLong. “It doesn’t lend itself well to media soundbites. So a lot of folks have been saying to me ‘I can’t tell, is this penalty good?’” DeLong responds with a resounding “Yes!” Saying that she welcomes the opportunity to write, teach and study on a topic dear to her heart.

DeLong recalls that during that initial meeting in the bishop’s office one of the bishop’s assistants referred to her as a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” To which she responded “Val and I aren’t practicing any more… we are pretty good at it by now.” The assistant laughed. More than anything that is the impression one gets of DeLong: someone with a lot of humor and aplomb who is unwilling to back down from a fight for justice.

After the jump watch a clip of DeLong talking about her experience.

—  admin

Night songs

Uh Huh Her grows with ‘Nocturnes’ but still loses its way in the dark

Music-1

DOUBLE TROUBLE | Camila Grey, left, and Leisha Hailey of Uh Huh Her fall short in their second full-length CD ‘Nocturnes,’ but make a nice recovery toward the end.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

 

When Uh Huh Her debuted in 2008 with Common Reaction, the critics noticed. Perhaps one of the more underrated albums of the year, the duo of Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey created a sophisticated track list fusing indie rock and electro-pop into catchy tunes.

It’s a shame they missed the mark on Nocturnes, their second full release, which displays a lot of growth, just all in the same key.

Perhaps if Nocturnes had been a concept album, the 11 tracks would work better — assuming “monotony” was the concept. The first six songs comprise a suite of similar tunes that are rendered forgettably. Where Reaction opened with a distinct attitude, UHH get washed out here, overcome with a blurred production overseen by Grey and Wendy Melvoin of Wendy and Lisa fame.

“Marstorm” appropriately opens the album with a strong set of guitars and racing drums. The ladies have gone a lot harder than before, but the jagged edge of the song rubs the wrong way and Grey’s soft vocals are swallowed by the music going on around her.

Even without a maelstrom of music, Grey’s voice is underwhelming in the intro of “Another Case.” Drummer Josh Kane seems to have been given carte blanche with his beat. He goes full throttle setting the pace of the album, but it’s one that barely relaxes. “Case” and its twin song “Disdain” push deep into the ears but without much substance.

When UHH delve into softer territory, as on “Human Nature,” they fare better. Although “Nature” isn’t that moving, it’s a reprieve from the unappealing sonic onslaught of previous songs.

UHH calm down by their eighth track, “Criminal,” and we finally begin to hear their familiar charm with a new display of complexities in their song structure. Grey’s sounds clearer (not much) and the intended moodiness of the album is in perfect pitch. The album clocks in at 40 minutes, but it takes forever to get to the final stretch which is the best part of Nocturnes. The final four tracks, starting with “Criminal,” immediately elevate the album to a higher plane.

With “Same High,” the texture of the music has subtle but sensuous layers and the minimalist lyrics balance the track exquisitely. The song grows with quietly and is perhaps the most satisfying track.

That said, “Darkness Is” may be the most challenging in all the right ways. The drive of the earlier songs is at the right speed here, forceful but not overpowering, leaving room for the ladies to deliver engaging lyrics like And say hell to the ones who sit on their thrones / And tell everybody to gather their guns and fear what? / Do you really want to let them control you?

Even with a cliché title, final track, “Time Stands Still,” succeeds with its gentleness. The song drifts with an ethereality that recalls, of all bands, Icehouse. “Time” doesn’t play as much as it melts over your ears with sumptuous delivery. Everything that’s right about UHH is marked in this song.

Nocturnes suffers from being top heavy with “Look Ma, I’m writing music” tracks that never provide a memorable experience. Instead, they ultimately drag the album down. Ironically, the final songs display Uh Huh Her at their finest and show a distinct maturity from Reaction, an already smart album.  Sophomore slump or not, when the band finds its balance, it should be remarkable.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas