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.

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Christopher Soden presents new works at the MAC

Poetic license

Local poet and author Christopher Stephen Soden reads from his newest collection Closer that is touted as “an existential look at same-gender sexuality and queer virility.” Sounds like some good stuff. A Q&A will follow.

DEETS: McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. 7 p.m. The-Mac.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Pat Robertson Reads God’s 2011 Housing Market Forecast, Verbatim

You must feel like a pretty lame human being, not able to hear the word of god so clearly you can recite his monologue word-for-word. But then you are not The 700 Club's Pat Robertson, giver of homosexual friendship advice, who says the lord spoke to him — using words like "interest groups," "fixed incomes," "bonds," and "get out of debt and restrict purchases" — and said that a reckoning will arrive by 2013. The creditors are coming! Also: locusts. Maybe.


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Rep. John Conyers Is So Pro-Gay He Reads About Lesbians In Playboy On Plane Rides

Michigan's Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who has consistently voted in favor of the homos for years, was videotaped on a Detroit-to-D.C. flight flipping through an issue of Playboy in his aisle seat, pausing to stop on an article about lesbian sex. This proves two things: 1) The 81-year-old Conyers still prefers the printed page to a Kindle; and 2) He prefers classy porn.


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