Retired Methodist pastor conducts same-sex union

William McElvaney, a retired Dallas pastor and former seminary president, defied United Methodist strictures against presiding over a same-sex marriage ceremony on March 1 but was uncertain whether he would lose his clergy credentials as a result.

The public ceremony was distinctive in that the three principals were octogenarians. McElvaney, 85, conducted the nuptial for George Harris, 80, and Jack Evans, 84. The couple have been partners for 53 years and are longtime members of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas.

A crowd of more than 200 attended the service at Midway Hills Christian Church in Dallas, applauding several times. The host church, part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), offered its facility for the event. But the reception was held at Northaven, where McElvaney is pastor emeritus.


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