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Lesbian wants her job back as United Methodist pastor

Lesbian wants her job back as United Methodist pastor


Lesbian wants her job back as United Methodist pastor

Twenty years ago, Beth Stroud was defrocked from her job as a United Methodist pastor in Philadelphia. In a church trial, she was found guilty of violating “Christian teaching” because she had acknowledged living in a committed relationship with another woman.

Earlier this month, delegates at a United Methodist Church conference struck down the UMC’s longstanding anti-LGBTQ policies and created a path for clergy ousted because of them to seek reinstatement.

Stroud — even while recalling how her 2004 ouster disrupted her life — is taking that path, though some other past targets of UMC discipline are choosing otherwise. Stroud is optimistic that United Methodist clergy from New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania will restore her pastoral credentials at a meeting next week.

At 54, she doesn’t plan a return to full-time ministry — at least not immediately. Now completing a three-year stint teaching writing at Princeton University, she is excited to be starting a new job this summer as assistant professor of Christian history at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio — one of 13 seminaries run by the UMC.