Media coverage of the charges against Greg, the trial, and the appeal

The Reverend Gregory Dell officiated at a covenant service for two gay men who were members of his congregation, Broadway United Methodist Church in Chicago. He was charged with “Disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church.” He was convicted and suspended indefinitely but upon appeal, a subsequent ruling limited the suspension to one year. After the suspension, he returned as pastor to Broadway UMC.

There was widespread media coverage of the charges against Greg, the trial, and the appeal.

News and Views


  • Church, Methodists May Part Ways Over Gay Unions, Chicago Tribune, December 7, 2000.

  • Policy Regarding Legal Weddings and Holy Unions adopted by the Church Council of Broadway United Methodist Church on September 12, 2000.

  • "I was wrong," Bishop Says, Friends of Bishop Tuell, February 23, 2000 After the Greg Dell Trial Bishop Jack Tuell took a new look at homosexuality and concluded United Methodist stance is wrong. See also Bishop Jack Tuell (1923-2014): Had change of heart on gay issues, published in 2014

  • Greg's Reflections on General Conference, The Day After..., May 2000.

  • "Doing a New Thing": The United Methodist Church and Homosexuality, sermon by Bishop Jack M. Tuell, February 20, 2000. Bishop Tuell conducted the trial of Greg Dell. He says, "Look, the sovereign message of the Bible is God's redeeming, all-powerful love that overrides all else, and places specific prohibitions in the context of the time and place and situation in which they were written."


  • Gay-Supportive United Methodist Pastor's Suspension Continues, IATC, September 17, 1999.

  • Suspended minister to regain his pulpit, Chicago Tribune, September 17, 1999 ("After the eight-page ruling was issued, northern Illinois Bishop C. Joseph Sprague spoke with Dell by telephone to tell him that he would be reappointed as pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church on July 1." The bishop also released a brief statement that said, 'The clear and reasoned decision of the Committee on Appeals both affirms due process and the verdict, and alleviates the uncertainty the prior sentence imposed on Greg Dell, Broadway United Methodist Church, and all others affected.'")

  • Minister must wait for ruling, Chicago Tribune, August 10, 1999.

  • Dell appeals Methodist suspension over gay-union ceremony, Associated Press (Chicago Tribune), August 9, 1999.

  • Pastors at heart of gay debate compare notes: Conference promotes Methodists' acceptance, Dallas Morning News, August 1, 1999 (Two United Methodist ministers [Jimmy Creech and Greg Dell] - both middle-aged, straight men - have become reluctant celebrities in the gay rights struggle that is tearing apart nearly every mainline Protestant denomination.)

  • Northern Illinois elects Dell delegate to church's top meeting, United Methodist News Service, June 10, 1999.

  • Committee sets Dell appeal for Aug. 9, United Methodist News Service, May 19, 1999.

  • Suspended pastor files appeal, United Methodist News Service, May 13, 1999.

  • Dell plans new role as director of “In All Things Charity,” United Methodist News Service, April 20, 1999.

  • Commentary: A Response to the Dell Trial by Jimmy Creech, News-Observer, North Carolina, April 2, 1999.

  • Holy union participant voices hurt, anger over Dell verdict, United Methodist News Service, March 30, 1999.

  • Good News movement applauds Dell verdict, penalty, United Methodist News Service, March 30, 1999.

  • Journalists, Church Officials and Gay Activists Examine Case of Rev. Dell on April 26, Northwestern University.

  • “Out of the closet at church” by Michael Armentrout (Point of View), News-Observer, March 31, 1999.

  • Dell Verdict is "Bad News" for Church, Reconciling Congregation press release, March 30, 1999.

  • Editorial: A Minister's Disobedience, Chicago Tribune, March 30, 1999.

  • Dell stands firm on same-sex unions, United Methodist News Service, March 29, 1999.

  • Creech 'stunned' by penalty against Dell, United Methodist News Service, March 29, 1999.

  • United Methodist News Service Trial Photos and Captions.

  • Parishioners Back Pastor Ousted for Gay Ceremony, Chicago Tribune, March 29, 1999.

  • Suspended Pastor's Flock Voices Its Support, New York Times, March 29, 1999.

  • Pastor's Suspension Sets Precedent for Methodists, Chicago Tribune, March 28, 1999.

  • Greg Dell Trial Updates, Final Entry, March 27 A.M.

  • Minister Is Suspended for Officiating in Gay Ceremony, New York Times March 28, 1999.

  • Pastor Suspended for Gay Marriage, AP article, March 27, 1999.

  • Church Rules Against Dell, Chicago Tribune, March 26, 1999.

  • Pastor Found Guilty of Gay Marriage, Associated Press, March 26, 1999.

  • Church Divisions Evident as Trial Begins, Chicago Tribune, March 26, 1999.

  • Northern Illinois Confessing Association Trial Coverage, March 26, 1999.

  • Photos from Downer's Grove United Methodist Church.

  • Pastor Tried for Same-Sex Weddings, Associated Press, March 25, 1999.

  • Greg Dell Trial: Northern Illinois Annual Conference.

  • Who Should Be Allowed a Holy Union? Digital City Discussion.

  • Methodist Pastor Faces Trial for Uniting 2 Men, New York Times, March 25, 1999.

  • NPR Report, March 25, 1999.

  • Northern Illinois Confessing Association Trial Coverage, March 25, 1999.

  • Pastor Faces Trial Over "Holy Union", Chicago Tribune, March 24, 1999.

  • Greg Dell trial: questions and answers, United Methodist News Service, March 3, 1999.

  • United Methodist pastor faces disobedience trial, United Methodist News Service, February 24, 1999.

  • United Methodist Pastor Faces Trial for Conducting Service of Holy Union, Broadway UMC, February 23, 1999.

  • Methodist pastor to be tried over gay marriage, Associated Press, February 23, 1999.

  • Cool Under the Collar, Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1999 (It has taken the United Methodist Church four months to assemble its case against Rev. Gregory Dell, though it is hard to imagine what took so long.)


  • Gay Rights Activists Fight Back: A Kansas preacher comes to Chicago to decry the rights of homosexuals and meets resistance in Lakeview, Chicago Tribune, November 23, 1998 ("More than 1,500 people, many from former congregations of Lakeview Pastor, gathered along Broadway and surrounded a United Methodist Church, saying they came to protect the neighborhood from what a local pastor dubbed 'the power of evil.'" according to the Tribune.)

  • Methodists Preparing for Anti-Gay Protesters, Chicago Tribune, November 20, 1998.

  • We Are Alarmed by clergy support of same-sex unions, external link to "Here I Stand" editorial, United Methodist Reporter, November 11, 1998.

  • Broadway United Methodist Church and Local Community Respond Swiftly to Planned Picketing by Hate Group, November 14, 1998.

  • Opposing United Methodist groups react to charges against pastor United Methodist News Service, October 28, 1998.

  • Another Holy Union Service Leads to Charges, United Methodist Reporter, October 28, 1998.

  • Church Law is Anti-Evangelical: Affirmation Speaks Out on Charges Against Dell, October 28, 1998.

  • Gay Union Case Puts Bishop in Tough Spot, Chicago Tribune, October 25, 1998.

  • Bishop presided over gay unions as local pastor: Charges in Chicago spark controversy, Columbus Dispatch, October 24, 1998.

  • Minister Faces Trial in Gays' Marriage, Chicago Tribune, October 24, 1998.

  • Complaint filed against Chicago pastor for same-sex service, United Methodist News Service, October 21, 1998.

  • Greg Dell's Letter to the congregation of Broadway UMC.

  • Letter from Bishop C. Joseph Sprague.


March 26, 1999: By a vote of 10 to 3, the trial court found the Rev. Greg Dell guilty of Disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church. By a vote of 13 to 0 the court found him guilty of conducting the service between Keith Eccarius and Karl Reinhardt on Sept. 19, 1998. He will be suspended from his pastoral duties July 3, until he signs and submits to the bishop a document saying that he will abide by Paragraph 65c or until the paragraph is lifted or its binding nature is changed by General Conference or Judicial Council action.

April - May, 1999: Greg Dell announces he is to become the director of In All Things Charity. Greg Dell appeals the trial court ruling.

June - July, 1999: Northern Illinois elects Greg Dell as a delegate to General Conference. In July, he leaves his pastoral position at Broadway UMC when his suspension begins.

Monday, August 9, 1999: Greg Dell's hearing.

Friday, August 17, 1999: The jurisdictional court upholds the verdict but alters his penalty, giving it a specific length of time, rather than undetermined. Bishop Sprague announces that he will re-appoint Dell to Broadway UMC on July 1, 2000.