An Iowa priest is making an indefinite leave of absence and it’s because of higher-ups in the Christian faith.
At the start of this year, delegates of the United Methodist Church gathered to debate whether they should loosen restrictions on LGBTQ priests and congregation members. The Methodist Book of Discipline currently states that same-sex marriages are not allowed and LGBTQ clergy members are banned as well.
For Reverend Anna Blaedel of Iowa City, Iowa, the following year has been a treacherous battle to keep her right to serve her congregation. Blaedel used to work as the director of the University of Iowa’s Wesley Center. But after initial complaints came in during 2018, she stepped down and settled for leading the center’s Table Tuesday program. That program allows college students to come and discuss topics surrounding spirituality and social justice.
Unfortunately for Blaedel, she lost that position too, according to the Gazette. An additional conference was held in Iowa this past Wednesday. A resolution was made at the Iowa Conference stating that Blaedel had to leave for “personal healing, and for discerning a livable future and alternatives to remaining a member of the Iowa Conference and The United Methodist Church — the conference and denomination to which Rev. Blaedel was called, ordained, and appointed, but which seems to hold no future for them and their ministry.”
This resolution, though unfortunate, helped to avoid a church trial over several complaints about Reverend Blaedel and her sexuality.
In a statement, shared by KCRG, the reverend says she hoped for a different conclusion to the complaints but is tired of this ongoing attack against her.
“Today, we are naming together the truth that it is not currently possible for me to continue my ministry in the context of the Iowa Annual Conference, nor the (United Methodist Church),” Blaedel said in a statement. “I had hoped for a different conclusion to the story. … I am no longer willing to subject my body and soul and life to this particular violence.”