Beth Stroud served as an ordained United Methodist pastor for six years before losing her clergy credentials in a 2004 church trial. In the trial, Beth was found guilty of “practices declared by the United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teaching” because she acknowledged living in a committed relationship with another woman.
The process that led to the trial began in April, 2003, when Beth told her congregation, the First United Methodist Church of Germantown (Pennsylvania), about her relationship her then partner. The congregation offered nearly universal support to Beth, setting up a legal fund to assist with her defense and hiring her as a lay minister after she lost her credentials.
The trial verdict was overturned on appeal, but the original verdict was reinstated by the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church in October, 2005. The Judicial Council is the highest judicial body of the United Methodist Church. There is no further avenue of appeal.
After serving the First United Methodist Church of Germantown for several years as a part-time lay pastoral assistant, Beth returned to graduate school. She is currently working on a Ph.D. in American religion at Princeton University. She is also the author of You! A Faith That Fits, the youth curriculum of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (published in 2007).
Beth holds a S.T.M. from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, a M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College. Before going into professional ministry, she worked as a writer and editor in New York City.
Beth lives in central New Jersey, where she and her former partner share custody of their daughter, who was born in 2005.
(This biographical statement provided by Beth Stroud.)
Biography Date: October, 2007
United Methodist Church | Church Trials | Clergy Activist | Ordination/clergy