Jimmy Creech, a United Methodist pastor in North Carolina, was visited one morning in 1984 by Adam, a longtime parishioner whom he liked and respected. Adam said that he was gay, and that he was leaving The United Methodist Church, which had just pronounced that "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" could not be ordained. He would not be part of a community that excluded him. Creech found himself instinctively supporting Adam, telling him that he was sure that God loved and accepted him as he was. Adam's Gift is Creech's inspiring first-person account of how that conversation transformed his life and ministry. Adam's visit prompted Creech to re-evaluate his belief that homosexuality was a sin, and to research the scriptural basis for the church's position. He determined that the church was mistaken, that scriptural translations and interpretations had been botched and dangerously distorted. As a Christian, Creech came to believe that discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people was morally wrong. This understanding compelled him to perform same-gender commitment ceremonies, which conflicted with church directives. Creech was tried twice by The United Methodist Church, and, after the second trial, his ordination credentials were revoked. Adam's Gift is a moving story and an important chapter in the unfinished struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil and human rights.
Jimmy Creech is a former United Methodist minister, now retired and living in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has worked with many social-action organizations, including Soulforce, an interfaith movement confronting spiritual violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons; the Methodist Federation for Social Action; the Raleigh Religious Network for Gay and Lesbian Equality; and Faith in America, an organization working to end religion-based bigotry. He has received the Flagbearer Award from PFLAG National; the Human Rights Campaign Equality Award; the Saint Award presented by Metropolitan Community Church, San Francisco; the North Carolina Pride, Inc. Award; and the Lee and Mae Ball Award, presented by The Methodist Federation for Social Action. He was selected as one of OUT magazine's "Out 100" in 1998 and 1999.
Acknowledgments ix 1. Adam 1 2. Orientation 5 3. Reorientation 27 4. Stepping Off the Curb 45 5. A Pastor Again 95 6. Covenant Ceremony 115 7. Hell Breaks Loose 125 8. Under Siege 147 9. Pretrial 183 10. The Church on Trial 207 11. Aftershock 255 12. New Challenges 283 13. Blessing Withdrawn 311 14. Epilogue 331 Notes 341 Bibliography 351 Index 355