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CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: mary-geraghty@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

Two Christian pastors to discuss sexual orientation and the church

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two ordained ministers will speak in Iowa City Monday, May 4 about their experiences challenging church rules regarding homosexual practices.

The Rev. Steve Sabin, pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church ELCA in Ames, will describe his current fight with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, which seeks to remove him from ministry for violating church rules mandating celibacy for homosexual ministers. The Rev. Jimmy Creech, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Neb., will discuss the complaint against him for publicly blessing the lesbian union of two members of his congregation.

Their joint presentation, "Sexual Orientation and the Church: Toward and Ethic of Inclusiveness," will take place at Old Brick Church, 26 E. Market St. from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Sabin is currently appealing the decision to remove him from the ministry because he violated a church governing document which states: "Practicing homosexual persons are precluded from the ordained ministry of this church." He is awaiting word about whether he will be allowed to remain in his position during the appeal process. Sabin has been pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church since 1985. Members of that congregation support Sabin's ministry as well as his relationship with Karl von Uhl, his partner of two and a half years. Von Uhl will join Sabin in his presentation.

In March Creech successfully defended a complaint filed against him for performing a "covenanting ceremony celebrating a homosexual union between two women." A 13-member church jury acquitted him by one vote.

This presentation is sponsored by Lutheran Campus Ministry and the Wesley Foundation at the University of Iowa. For more information, contact the Rev. Marsha Acord at (319) 338-1179 or the Rev. Robert Dotzel at (319) 338-7868.

4/27/98