Rev. Gregrey Renstrom of Minneapolis’ New Harmony United Methodist Church is facing a formal complaint within the United Methodist Church for his participation in the recent Twin Cities LGBT Pride Festival. The complaint alleges that Renstrom performed blessings for same-sex couples, in violation of the church’s laws, during a mass commitment ceremony held annually at the festival.
According to the complaint, Renstrom was seen on a KARE 11 video performing a commitment ceremony for a couple at the Pride festival on June 25. The story was about legalizing same-sex marriage in New York and defeating a ballot measure that would add a ban on marriage for gays and lesbians to the Minnesota Constitution.
The complaint alleges that Renstrom violated Paragraph 341.6 of The 2008 United Methodist Book of Discipline, which states, “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”
“I am not suspending Rev. Renstrom from his ministry with the New Harmony fellowship that meets at the historic Wesley building in Minneapolis,” wrote Bishop Sally Dyck. “He will continue to have the rights and responsibilities of ministry while we follow this process to its outcome. He has agreed not to do any more ‘blessings’ while under complaint.”
Renstrom has notified Dyck that he intended to conduct commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples at Twin Cities Pride.
Earlier in June, more than 70 of Minnesota’s Methodist ministers vowed to defy church law, bless same-sex couples and oppose the proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage for gays and lesbians.
“I would ask that you keep in your prayers Rev. Renstrom, the New Harmony fellowship, the Minnesota Annual Conference (of churches and clergy), The United Methodist Church, and all in our culture who are struggling, hurting, and caring deeply about this matter,” Bishop Dyck said.
Dyck said she is working closely with Renstrom and the church’s disciplinary process to ensure a just result. She has also gone public with the complaint with Renstrom’s support.