What you can do to help and support Tom Ogletree
BREAKING 2/24/14 : Presiding officer announces resolution will be announced 3/10 in Ogletree case. On the date that had been set for the trial, instead the parties will hold a joint press conference at the NYAC conference center and announce a resolution. We do not know what it is, but we continue to pray for a truly just resolution not only to this case, but to the UMC’s bigotry and persecution of LGBTQ people and those who dare to minister to us.
Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree is being prosecuted by the UMC for officiating at his son's wedding. A church trial, set for March 10 and 11, 2104, at First UMC in Stamford, CT, was postponed by the presiding officer in the case on February 10. Accordingly, our planned rally and worship in solidarity with Tom for the day before, Sunday, March 9, has been cancelled for now.
Many have asked what they can do to support Tom, and it is important to stress though the trial has been postponed, the case is not over! Here are some answers. (For an overview of the case, Tom's bio and more, see the case page.)
- Donate to support Tom's defense. Send checks made out to MIND with "Defense Fund" in the memo line to MIND Defense Fund, c/o Asbury UMC, 167 Scarsdale Rd., Tuckahoe, NY 10707. Or donate online by clicking here:
- Mobilize your communities -- your congregation, your seminary, your lectionary group, your youth group -- whatever UMC networks you are a part of. Organize people to support Tom's defense.
- Share news about the case with friends on Facebook; “share” MIND’s Facebook posts.
- Share news about the case on Twitter using the hashtag #MinistryOnTrial; include @MINDNYAC in your tweets; retweet MIND’s tweets.
- If you have a blog, blog about the case!
- If you have UMC friends who blog, ask them to blog about it.
- Share news and MIND links about the case with UMC networks and listservs.
- Those in the New York Annual Conference: Help make We Do! Methodists Living Marriage Equality bigger and stronger. Tom is a signer of the Covenant of Conscience and the best way to show support for him is to get as many people as possible to join him as signers. Together we must show the church and the world that no amount of repression will stop this movement of love. (NB: If you are not a member of NYAC, you cannot sign the covenant as it is a conference-specific initiative. However, 14 other conferences have similar initiatives, and for those whose conference doesn't RMN has an "Altar for All" initiative for individuals to sign.)
- Talk about it in church: Talk about what it means to be part of a denomination that would prosecute someone for officiating at his own son’s wedding, and what it means to be a part of the movement to heal that denomination through our simple vow to no longer participate in the discrimination.
It is also important to remember the problem in the United Methodist Church is not trials but the unjust church laws that condemn and exclude an entire class of people. Trials are merely a symptom of this problem and we must redouble our efforts to end the codified bigotry against LGBTQ people in our denomination. It is also important to remember that Tom has had an official complaint hanging over his head for 16 months now, putting strain on him and his family. No matter what the final outcome is, that harm cannot be undone.