A Hoosier Response to the Complaint Filed Against Rev. Anna Blaedel
On August 7, 2019, the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church publicly released details of a complaint filed in 2018 against the Rev. Anna Blaedel, ordained clergyperson in the Iowa Conference. The complaint was filed with the Iowa Conference Bishop’s Office by a lay member of a United Methodist congregation in the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church. You can read the press release here: http://bit.ly/2yQ7CwY. Update as of August 13, 2019: The Committee on Investigation voted to refer the charges against Rev. Blaedel to trial. This open letter is the response of United Methodists in Indiana who stand against the complainant's actions and in solidarity with Rev. Blaedel.
The Open Letter Dear Siblings in Christ in the Iowa Conference,
This letter comes to you from United Methodists of the Indiana Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. We are writing to express our profound sadness at the news of the complaint filed against Rev. Anna Blaedel by a member of our conference for violation of the Book of Discipline’s unjust prohibition against clergy who are “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals.”
To Rev. Blaedel, we are deeply sorry for the harm that has been and continues to be done against you and your ministry within our United Methodist Church. You have responded to God’s call on your life and served faithfully for many years, but this complaint questions the validity of that service and call. We are also mindful of the reality that this complaint was filed by a member of our Indiana Conference, and we are sorry for our complicity -- for the ways we as an Indiana Conference have fostered an environment that allows for this kind of hateful rhetoric and action. We must do better, and we are committed to working within our conference to become a more just and faithful Church.
To the Church as a whole: We are aggrieved not only because of the harm this complaint perpetuates against LGBTQ+ persons but also because of the unbiblical nature of this particular complaint process. We point to Jesus’ mandate in Matthew 18:15-17 to seek the resolution of conflict first by engaging directly with the person with whom you are in conflict and then, if necessary, bring others into the resolution process. As the complainant has never met Rev. Blaedel and is not a member of the Iowa Conference, we can only assume that the complaint was not filed with any intent toward biblical resolution. Our desire for the Indiana United Methodist Conference, as well as the global Methodist communion, is that we would be a Church that lives into Jesus’ vision of life-giving community and relationship, not a Church that leverages the complaint process for political and punitive gain.
We unequivocally denounce the actions of this complainant and his employer, the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD). We reject the violent tactics of the IRD made possible by the unjust policies of our Discipline, particularly in this moment of our United Methodist Church. We recognize the choices that are before us all as we seek to be a more faithful Church. We advocate for actions that further our commitment to live into the beloved community that Christ calls us to be, so that we might become a Church that honors God’s call on all person’s lives.
As Hoosier United Methodists, we stand against the tyranny of this action and stand in solidarity with our sibling in Christ, the Rev. Anna Blaedel.
Yours in Christ, United Methodists of the Indiana Conference
Signatures Rev. Duane Carlisle, Broadway UMC Rev. Mary Dicken, Meridian Street UMC Rev. Dr. Cyndi Alte, Broadway UMC Ms. Alisa Isaacs-Bailey, Gobin Memorial UMC Rev. Mark Dicken Rev. Bryan Langdoc, Gobin Memorial UMC Rev. Corinne Boruff, Anderson First UMC Anne Moman Brock, North UMC Rev. Lisa Schubert Nowling, Bloomington First UMC Christine Mahon, College Avenue UMC, Muncie Dr. Patricia Bennett, College Avenue UMC Mary Jane Packard, First UMC Bloomington Rev. Jimmy Moore, St. Mark’s UMC Rev. Teri Crouse, JD, Bloomington First UMC Barbara Dicken James Ault, Anderson First UMC Marilyn Ault Rev. Dr. Todd Gile Rev. Ronnie Bell, Cumberland UMC Rev. Dr. Nelson Steele, retired clergy Rev. Julie Pimlott Rev. Dr. John McFarland Fred Schick, First UMC, Bloomington Amy Sell, North UMC Pastor Mandie Gould Willoughby Rev. Joseph Sanford, Sellersburg UMC Leann Beaven, Newburgh UMC Rev. Howard Boles, Columbus First UMC Rev. Holly Hardsaw, First UMC, New Castle Patricia Marvin, St. Mark’s UMC, Bloomington Meg Jones Rev. Steven Conger, Meridian Street UMC Rev. Dr. Jim Farrer, First UMC Ms. Delma Mindel, Zionsville UMC Ms. Linda Forsher, First UMC Hope Tribble, Broadway UMC, Indianapolis Rev. Dr. Marti Lundy Rev. Ann Lantz Rev. Karen Rhoades Welling Ms. Carol McGarry, First UMC, Bloomington Melissa Fisher Rev. Dr. Tamara Gieselman Mr. David Howenstine Rev. Gordon Burton Rev. Chris Nunley, North Central District Martha Crossen Rev. Jill Howard Nancy Stortz, Broadway UMC Rev. Dr. Rachel Metheny, Congress Street UMC Rev. Nikki Brown Rice, Auburn First UMC Arlene Samuelson, Auburn First UMC Rev. Michael Mather, Broadway UMC Mr. Hobart Tinley, Grace UMC Rev. Erin Michelle Weaver Rev. JillAnn Knonenborg Mr. Albert Hidalgo, Broadway UMC Mr. Richard Pickard, Broadway UMC Rev. Janice Dimick Mr. Wayne Peterson-Stephan, Evangelical UMC Dr. Adam Drummond, Evangelical UMC Jordan Peterson Stephan, Evangelical UMC Lisa Hamilton Pastor Jason Torres, Chesterton UMC Ms. Amanda Stephenson, Evangelical UMC Rev. Crystal Jacobson, Tanner Valley UMC Mr. Matthew Stephenson, Evangelical UMC Dr. Adolf Hansen, St. Luke’s UMC, Indianapolis Pastor Ryan Sibray Rev. Dr. Kent Lundy Rev. Brittney Stephan, Evangelical UMC John Randall Ms. Danielle Hanson Mr. Joshua Beach, North UMC Rev. Mary Beth Morgan, St. Mark's, Bloomington Ms. Amy VanHorn, Auburn UMC Rev. Dr. Brad Miller Rev. Kevin Armstrong Rev. Jean Ness Rev. Steven Ailes Christen Rees, Broadway UMC Lori Lego, Broadway UMC Arlen Packard, Bloomington FUMC Rev. Matt Landry, First UMC South Bend Ms. Janelle Ohlemiller Rev. Christopher Tiedeman Mr. Shane Lanning Tiffanney Drummond Rev. Jason Morris Rev. Sandy Harlan Mary Sue McAlister, Meridian Street UMC Rev. Sandy Harlan Rev. 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Larry Dimick, Retired Katie Swisher Ms. Dessie (Despina) Koch, Meridian Street UMC Mr. Rick Belbutoski, Hennepin Ave UMC Ms. Staci Miller, Anderson FUMC Ms. Kate Singer Ms. Nancy Zent, Broadway UMC Ms. Tracy Heaton de Martinez, Broadway UMC Ms. Joann Calabrese, First UMC Jennifer Riddle Rev. Nancy Nichols Sara Wuellner, Calvary UMC Rev. Susan Hobson Rev. Robert Ostermeier Ms. Cyrena Gilman Ms. Carmen Daugherty Ms. Julie Head, FUMC and St. Mark's Gisele Dollinger, Broadway UMC Ms. Rebecca Peters, Meridian Street UMC Martha Schick, First UMC, Bloomington Ms. Debra Davis, St Mark's UMC, Bloomington Rev. Dr. L Stephen Cain, RFE at Faith UMC, Living Waters Peace Center Rev. Leonard Sjogren Ms. Frances Leath Rev. Donna Goings, First UMC Bloomington Charles Daube, Broadway UMC Rev. Barb Marshall Rick Ward, Broadway UMC, Indianapolis Rev. Barbara Lloyd Rev. Dr. Maureen Knudsen Langdoc, DePauw University Rev. Michael Lawson, First UMC of Portage Ms. Amber Welch, Portage First UMC Dr. Rebecca Davis Mr. Wolff Roos Psula Merriman Dr. Amy Metheny, Broadway UMC Carol Berg Dr. Michelle Greene Nina Taylor, St Mark’s UMC Rev. Dr. Jackie Chandler Gail Strong, Meridian Street UMC Chris Schellenberg Rev. Ed Fisher Mr. Jay Cobb, Broadway UMC David Byrum, Retired Elder Mary Eyster Hazel Jane Crosier Rev. Tara Keehn, Portage First UMC Hope Tribble, Broadway UMC, Indianapolis Rev. Jill Wright Mr. Larry Coplen, Broadway UMC Connie Hegart, First UMC, Bloomington Ms. Sarah Frost, Garden at Gethsemane UMC Mr. David Miller, Ridge UMC Mr. Douglas Alte, Broadway UMC Melissa Davis, First UMC Bloomington Anne Holtsclaw Meyer, Frankfort St. Matthew's Pastor Kayla Grehl Sharry Lee Gregory, Meridian Street UMC Mr. John Paarlberg Rev. Dr. Philip Amerson, President Emeritus, Garrett-Evangelical Seminary Rev. Shannon Stringer Barbara Taylor, Broadway UMC Janet Ashley, Evangelical UMC Mr. Thomas Ashley, EUMC Vicki Bailey Sarah Lasbury, St Mark's UMC, Carmel Dr. Elaine Amerson Pastor Diane Gattone, North UMC Annie Wills Ms. Lynda Richards Laatsch, Evangelical UMC Huntington Crystal Lorch, College Avenue UMC Kathy Jenkins, Meridian Street UMC Ms. Cynthia Regnier, Ridge UMC Cheryl Bainbridge, St. Marks UMC Marilyn Hartman, First UMC, Bloomington Ms. Helen McFarland, St. Mark's UMC, Bloomington Rev. Mike Beck Kayla Goodfellow, Broadway UMC Mr. Paul George, NUMC Laurie Paarlberg, Broadway UMC Laura Baich, St. Mark’s UMC Mr. Rick Sutton, St Luke's UMC, Indianapolis Ms. Elizabeth D'Alton, Meridian Street UMC Janis Brady, St Mark's UMC Debra Russum, 1st United Methodist of Portage Andrew Mortonson, St Marks UMC, Carmel Ms. Christina Cawthra, Portage FUMC Laura Baich, St. Mark’s UMC Jean Rumpel, Meridian Street UMC Katrina Mescher, St. Mark’s UMC, Bloomington Linda Mills, Portage 1st UMC Rob Fuquay, St Lukes UMC, Indianapolis Mr. Dana Good, Broadway UMC Ms. Rebecca Seifert Carolyn Kingen, Meridian Street UMC Joshua Yankey Ms. Kathy O’Brien Lorri Davenport Ms. Jennifer Hill, RUMC Patty Fisher, OUMC Cheryl Lowery, Ridge UMC Pastor Phyllis Peters Lorrayne Schmock Miriam Jones, First UMC, Anderson, IN Lindsey Fisher Rev. Mary Cartwright, Nashville UMC Ms. Nancy Hunt, Meridian Street UMC Rev. Stormy Scherer-Berry Ms. Martha Harsanyi, First UMC, Bloomington Danny Percak, Ridge UMC Rev. 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Robinson, St Marks UMC, Bloomington Ms. Deborah Piper, Celebration UMC Ms. Sherry Jivelekas Ms. Brenda Westfall Janice Holley, Broadway UMC, Indianapolis Amber Good, Noblesville First UMC Rev. Dr. Andrew Scanlan-Holmes Rev. Beth Newton Watson Deborah Walker, Roberts Park UMC Rev. Brent Wright, Community Health Network Ms. Katie Gilbert, Castleton UMC Ms. Janet Mitchell, Noblesville First UMC Mr. Joseph Mitchell, Noblesville First UMC Rev. Cindy Uhrich, Lydick UMC Rev. Dr. Carolyn Scanlan-Holmes, The Garden Alayna Gray, St. Mark's, Bloomington Rev. David Heim Rev. Andrew Charnstrom, Union Chapel UMC Ms. Joann Calabrese, First UMC, Bloomington Andrea Clough, Broadway UMC Kim Reeves, St. Lukes UMC Ms. Christina Guthrie, Old Bethel UMC Dawn Walters, St. Marks, Bloomington Sarah Taylor, Anderson First UMC Beth Lively, Noblesville First UMC Brenda Bailey-Hughes, St Marks UMC Ms. Stephanie Zircher Ron Carter, St. Luke’s UMC Mr. Bryan Walters, St. Marks UMC, Bloomington Barbara Carter, St. Luke’s UMC Jennifer VanSickle Cathy McFarland Jennifer Dobbs-Oates, Grace UMC, Lafayette Rev. Sarah Knapp, Safeco (Liberty Mutual) Rev. Ronald Branson Rebekka Almond, St. Mark's UMC, Bloomington Mr. Leonard Vanzant, St Mark's UMC Ms. Betony O'Connor, Old Bethel UMC Donald Smith, Noblesville First UMC Ms. Kim Arnott Ken Puent Marsha Huberty, St. Mark's UMC Ms. Kathy Tomes, Noblesville First UMC Ms. Beth Rosales, St. Mark's UMC Eric Ellsworth, Meridian Street UMC Mr. Tom Shriver-McGrevy, Noblesville First UMC Rev. Steven Walker Ms. Natalie Oehler Rev. 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Jamalyn Peigh Williamson Linda Stephenson, Bloomington First UMC Kathryn Lenz, First UMC, West Lafayette Nicci George, North UMC Elaine Dillahunt, Broadway UMC Mr. William Todd, Nashville UMC Ms. Diane Metheny Anna Hastings, Meridian Street UMC Rev. Jessi Langlie, Brownstown UMC Rev. Dr. William Schwein, Retired Clergy Ms. Kitty O’Donnell, Meridian Street UMC Rev. Linda Dolby Barbara Graves Dr. Donald Nicholas, College Avenue UMC Mr. Andy Grigley Annalee Williams, St. Mark's UMC, Carmel Elisabeth Pyle, College Avenue UMC, Muncie Elizabeth Davenport, Noblesville First UMC Rev. Ann Glass Nancy Rairdon, Noblesville First UMC Rachel Fender, St. Mark's UMC, Bloomington Matthew Fellure, North UMC, Indianapolis Peter Howe Jim MacDonald Heidi Bagnall, First UMC, West Lafayette Barbara Ellsworth, Meridian Street UMC Rev. Rune Nielsen, Hong Kong Lutheran Sarah Dutkevitch, North UMC Valerie Doud Mr. Orson Mason, North UMC Alan Archibald Ms. Lisa Graff, Portage First UMC Rev. David Neuen, University Heights UMC Ms. Julia Graff, Portage First UMC Jessica Creech, Portage First UMC Rebecca Bender Gaye Rardon, Meridian Street UMC Todd Daniels-Howell, North UMC, Indianapolis Rev. L. Cameron Manifold Ms. Kathy Oehler, North UMC, Indianapolis Mr. Eric Oehler, North UMC, Indianapolis Joseph Norman Juliana Berry, North UMC Deborah Christie, Meridian Street UMC Ms. Susan Alley Kate King, St. Mark's UMC Barbara D. Schmenner Donald Broad, St. Mark's UMC, Carmel Roger Schmenner Mr. Nathan Lundy, Evangelical UMC and Churubusco UMC Susan Childers, North UMC, Indianapolis Rev. Mark Fenstermacher Nancy Wever, North UMC, Indianapolis Rev. Beverly Perry, INUMC Mx. Mack Owings Ann Baker Laurel Goetzinger, North UMC, Indianapolis Ms. Beverly Szalaiy, Noblesville First UMC Ms. Laura Sogard, Meridian Street UMC Linda Schenk, St. Mark’s UMC, Carmel Lore Blinn Gibson James Fore, Broadway UMC, Indianapolis Rev. 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Elizabeth Gilbert, Plainfield UMC Michael Gilbert, Plainfield UMC Tiffany Duke, Newburgh UMC Mark Swing, Evangelical UMC Ms. Delene Swing, Evangelical UMC Mr. Nathan Hochstetler, Anderson First UMC Midge Greising, Meridian Street UMC James Kubal, Nashville UMC Bethany Scott, Meridian Street UMC Ms. Jennifer Bowman, Evangelical UMC Rev. Toni Carmer, First United Methodist Church Rev. Dr. Scott Carmer, Retired Elder Mr. Kendall Wolfe, MSW, LSW Carolyn Rader, Meridian Street UMC Ms. Kelli Jack-Kelly, Meridian Street UMC Mr. Chris Kelly, Meridian Street UMC Ms. Jessie Gray, Elma UMC Greg O'Connor David Baker, Meridian Street UMC Rev. Mary Beth Byrne Ms. Penny Grubb, Trinity UMC, Evansville Ms. Christie Wamsley, Calvary UMC