The Rev. Bill McElvaney, emeritus pastor of Dallas’ Northaven’s United Methodist Church, has been suspended for marrying longtime couple Jack Evans and George Harris.
McElvaney married the couple of 53 years on March 1 at nearby Midway Hills Christian Church after announcing in January that he was taking a stand for marriage equality and “would consider it a privilege to officiate at a same-sex wedding.” Northaven’s current pastor decided not to have the ceremony take place at the church becasue of possible repercussions by the Methodist Church.
He received notice a week later from Dallas Bishop Michael McKee, notifying him of a complaint filed by the Rev. Camille Gaston.
“The UM Discipline calls for a supervisory response from the bishop,” McElvaney wrote in a post on Northaven’s website, where he announced the news. “This response is intended to be pastoral and administrative, directed toward a just resolution between the parties.”
McElvaney is not on trial for the wedding yet, but the meeting is the first step in determining how to move forward. He is suspended from clergy duties as the process unfolds. Other ministers who’ve violated the Methodist discipline and presided over same-sex weddings have been defrocked.
But McElvaney told Dallas Voice earlier this year that at 85, and who has recently undergone chemotherapy, he had nothing to lose by standing on the right side of history.
“I owe the Methodist church a lot, but what I do not owe the Methodist Church is my soul,” he said.
Read McElvaney’s statement below.