On April 4, 2017, you received a formal complaint against Rev. Anna Blaedel, Director of Spiritual Formation at the University of Iowa Wesley Center. This complaint was filed by the appointive cabinet of the Iowa Annual Conference for performing a same-sex wedding ceremony.
The UI Wesley Center Board of Directors affirms our unequivocal support of Anna Blaedel’s ministry. We specifically express our support for Anna’s act of officiating at same-sex weddings.
We recognize that there are multiple “chargeable offenses” in the Discipline which are often overlooked or dealt with informally. We find the choice to pursue this but not other “chargeable offenses” arbitrary and hypocritical. The Board rejects this formal complaint, and the policies of the Discipline that it is grounded in, as discriminatory and unjust and laments the disruption of ministry it will cause. The physical and emotional demands of responding to such a complaint detract from Anna’s Wesley Center ministry. We find the United Methodist church’s continued discrimination and harm of the LGBTQ community through actions such as this complaint to be incompatible with Jesus’ teaching. Such a complaint and such policies have no place in a denomination professing to have open hearts, open minds, and open doors.
The UI Wesley Center strives to create an inclusive community where the core values of courage, community, hospitality, authenticity, justice, and healthy and sustainable leadership are promoted and upheld. The Wesley Board finds Anna Blaedel’s practice of extending ministry to all to be compatible with these values. The formal complaint filed against Anna is not consistent with the mission and core values of the Wesley Center. As a response, we reaffirm our baptismal covenant and invite you to recommit with us to accept the freedom and power God gives us to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves,” especially in the policies and practices of the denomination.
The Wesley Center Board invites you to join us in prayerfully supporting Anna, the Wesley community, and the ministry of the Wesley Center during this time. We also call on you to dismiss this complaint.
Yours in Christ,
The UI Wesley Center Board of Directors
Chan Gok Kim