Atlanta-based Reverend Bradley Schmeling ain’t backing down despite being asked to leave the pulpit. Schmeling came under congregational fire earlier this year after telling St. John’s Lutheran brass that he found a long-term lover, thus violating the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s queer celibacy policy.
Even though Bishop Ronald Warren knew of Schmeling’s yen for dick when he hired him in 2000, the recent turn of events, however, have led Warren to push for Schmeling’s sacking.
A disciplinary committee ordered Warren and his peers to wait until August’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in America conference before making a final decision. Another committee, however, decided this week that Schmeling must leave immediately. Schmeling, however, refuses.
The good Reverend keeps it real with the following statement:
The congregation issued a call to me in 2000 and as far as we are concerned, that hasn’t changed. I plan to continue to follow my call in ministry at St. John’s and to pray for the day when all God’s children are equally welcomed into the Lutheran church.
Change has always proven difficult for the church. I continue to hope that the church will be centered in God’s message of love, compassion and justice, rather than in the enforcement of discriminatory policies.
Schmeling’s commitment convinced Bishop Warren to set up meetings with St. John’s council. Until then, Schmeling will keep on keeping on the pulpit.