"Gender and physicality, in Christian and Jewish teaching, are intrinsically linked to God's order of creation, as first described in Genesis. The God whom we worship knew us as male or female before He created us. Gender is not a choice but a reality." -- Mark Tooley, IRD Director of UMAction
Contact: Loralei Coyle, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, email@example.com; both with The Institute on Religion and Democracy
WASHINGTON, May 22 /Christian Newswire/ -- A United Methodist minister in Baltimore has informed the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church of a name change, from Ann Gordon to Drew Phoenix. The issue will be discussed at a closed session of the clergy during the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, which starts in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
The minister's name change is already reflected on her church's website: www.stjohnsbaltimore.org. The former Rev. Ann Gordon now reportedly professes a male identity as Rev. Drew Phoenix.
In 2002, the Baltimore-Washington Conference had a similar controversy, when Rev. Richard Zimostny had a sex change operation and became Rebecca Steen. That minister's request to return to the active pastorate was ultimately sidetracked and Zimostny/Steen left the ordained ministry of The United Methodist Church.
The United Methodist Church has no explicitly stated, official policies regarding sexual identity changes or sex change operations. The denomination does officially disapprove of homosexual behavior. Rev. Phoenix' congregation supports the "Reconciling" movement within United Methodism, which campaigns to overturn the church's official teachings on marriage and sexual ethics.
IRD Director of UMAction Mark Tooley commented:
"Christianity, in contrast to gnosticism and much of current popular culture in America, rejects the suggestion that sexual identity is merely a state of mind or a preference.
"Gender and physicality, in Christian and Jewish teaching, are intrinsically linked to God's order of creation, as first described in Genesis. The God whom we worship knew us as male or female before He created us. Gender is not a choice but a reality.
"Someone struggling with sexual identity issues needs the ministry and guidance of the church. But the church would be wrong to bless a so-called sexual identity change, with or without surgery."