Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jimmy Creech

Jimmy Creech was pastor of the Ocracoke United Methodist Church from 1973-1981. His impact on the church and community was profound and lasting. While Jimmy served his Ocracoke congregation he was also active in the volunteer fire department, promoted local musical gatherings, participated in variety shows and theater productions, organized an active youth group, helped sponsor cooking classes in the parsonage, and contributed to numerous other civic and community projects.

After leaving Ocracoke, Jimmy served other churches in North Carolina, and in Nebraska. In 1984, a member of Jimmy’s congregation came out to him as gay and announced he was leaving The United Methodist Church because of its policies toward lesbian, gay and bisexual members. Increased knowledge of these issues in the church and society transformed Jimmy's life and ministry. He began to publicly challenge the church’s teachings and policies about homosexuality and to advocate for the full inclusion and acceptance of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the church and society. Eventually Jimmy's ordination was revoked in 1999 for performing same-sex unions.

In March, Duke University Press will be releasing Jimmy's new book, Adam's Gift, the story of his defiance of the church's official position.

You can click on the image below to read more about Jimmy's book (you might have to click on the image again to enlarge it).

Several book readings have already been scheduled. Below is a list of some of them:

  • Sunday, April 10 • 3:00pm - 6:00pm
    Location: Quail Ridge Books & Music
    3522 Wade Ave
    Raleigh, NC

  • Monday, April 25 • 7:00pm - 10:00pm
    Location: The Regulator Bookshop
    720 Ninth St
    Durham, NC

  • Wednesday, April 27 • 7:00pm - 10:00pm
    Location: The Internationalist Bookstore
    405 W. Franklin St
    Chapel Hill, NC

  • Saturday, May 14 • 10:00am - 1:00pm
    Location: Clifton United Methodist Church
    3416 Clifton Ave.
    Cincinnati, OH

  • Saturday, June 25 • 3:00pm - 6:00pm
    Location: Durham County Main Library
    300 N. Roxboro St
    Durham, NC

Other readings will be listed here:

More information about Jimmy's book is available here:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous6:53 AM

    I love all people....and, we all make choices in this life we are day, we each will be faced with judgement from our Heavenly Father....the Bible is very clear about what is pleasing to Him. Please don't be fooled.

  2. Anonymous8:07 AM

    You're right Anon. In an attempt to show God's love to all people, we must be careful not to violate the clear teachings of scripture. Although I am sure he will be proclaimed a hero his ministry is tarnished by not standing by the Word that he promised to teach. We can love the sinner but we don't have to love their sin.

  3. Anonymous8:33 AM

    That's right....Jesus would have us "love the sinner, but not love the sin"....whatever that sin may be.

  4. Anonymous8:46 AM

    Whoa folks, how closed minded are you all?

  5. Anonymous9:15 AM

    I applaud Mr. Creech's efforts and will definitely read his book. Religious intolerance is nothing new but oh so unfortunate.

  6. Anonymous9:34 AM

    The Bible tells us where to draw a line in the sand. When people cross that line and some "Christians" say that is acceptable, the ones who say it is not acceptable are labeled "intolerant". Yes, I am very intolerant...of murder, stealing, adultery, etc, etc. The Bible also calls homosexuality "detestable". Sounds pretty clear-cut to me...but hey, I guess I'm one of those "intolerant" ones.

    Am I bashing gays, etc? No. They need to be in church just as much as I do... But, that doesn't make their sin acceptable any more than it is acceptable for a church person to be cheating on their spouse! Sin is sin no matter what it is...

    What's next...shall we make child sacrifice acceptable? There is a black and white write and wrong, and the Bible tells us which is which...

  7. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Humans didn't make up the law....God did! We as Christians must have compassion as Jesus did for the prostitute, however she REPENTED and thus, therein lies the difference.

    We are all sinners....and will stand before the Lord one day....have you read your Bible lately?

  8. Anonymous10:33 AM

    Actually I have read the Bible and disbelieve all of it. Thank you very much. P.S. I do love the stories though even in my sinful life.

  9. Anonymous10:47 AM

    "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." Gen. 2:24

    And, to the last Anon have the choice & freedom to accept or deny God, Jesus and the Bible. However, your comment deeply saddens me as you openly deny the Father.

    Praying for you....

  10. Anonymous11:49 AM

    The Bible consistently tells us that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. When people continue in sin and unbelief, God “gives them over” to even more wicked and depraved sin in order to show them the futility and hopelessness of life apart from God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that homosexual “offenders” will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    God does not create a person with homosexual desires. The Bible tells us that people become homosexuals because of sin (Romans 1:24-27) and ultimately because of their own choice. A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as some people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the person’s choosing to sin by giving in to sinful desires. If a person is born with a greater susceptibility to anger/rage, does that make it right for him to give into those desires? Of course not! The same is true with homosexuality.

    However, the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin than any other. All sin is offensive to God. Homosexuality is just one of the many things listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that will keep a person from the kingdom of God. According to the Bible, God’s forgiveness is just as available to a homosexual as it is to an adulterer, idol worshipper, murderer, thief, etc. God also promises the strength for victory over sin, including homosexuality, to all those who will believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 4:13).

    I don't hate homosexuals, I don't hate Jimmy Creech. I just don't want to see them misunderstand where Scriptures are clear. As Christians we have to be careful not to put on an aire of hypocrisy. I'm a sinner too and only through God's help can I overcome my sin.

  11. Anonymous2:25 PM

    I can't believe I am reading such a comment in the year 2011.

  12. Anonymous2:29 PM

    Wake up Anon....we need these scriptures more in 2011 than ever before!

  13. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Thank you for your courage in posting this story of two decent and moral individuals. It's a shame courage is needed to do that.

  14. Anonymous4:03 PM

    I do not argue politics or religion for one simple reason...nobody wins! Although I am not gay, I sincerely hope I will not be judged by a God like the one some of you "believers" depict as narrow minded. Give Him a little credit. He alone understands His own creations .

  15. These discussions always make me sad. There is too much in this life we don't understand.I"try" to remember not to judge someone until I have walked in their shoes and of course I have never walked in anyone else's shoes.I know for a fact that some people have been born with BOTH male AND female genitalia.I wonder who some of you think they should marry. Things are not always black and white. We just need to love each other better and not judge whether someone is sinning or not. One of the most interesting things about everyone's comments is no one is signing their name but I will sign mine. Lida Jones

  16. Anonymous6:32 PM

    Good observation about no one signing their name. I made the comment about religious intolerance. I posted "anonymous" out of habit.

  17. Anonymous7:00 PM

    I won't say what side I am on to simplify the issue. But, perhaps in the future Politics and Religion shouldn't be discussed. I imagine no one will win in this type of forum.

  18. Anonymous2:27 AM

    Oh My goodness. I know anyone no matter their sexual prefererence can rob a bank get caught arested be jailed and suffer the consequences and be tried by a jury of their peers which does not mean sexual orienta- tion

  19. Anonymous7:51 AM

    Don't we have a mess on our hands!

    One day, the TRUTH will be revealed to those who are thinking the Bible is useless and God's Word is just a myth.

    Our Lord is a forgiving God, but we have to be willing to admit there is something in our lives to be forgiven.

    I have personally seen God's forgiveness in my life many times over.

    And, I'm sure as I am a sinner, I will come to Him with tears in my eyes and on bended knee asking for forgiveness in the future.

    I will continue to love all people and yes, I will continue to pray for them as I am praying for myself.

  20. Anonymous8:08 AM

    I think some of you simply need to open your eyes, that is what Ocracoke is about, the one you say you love.

  21. Anonymous9:31 AM

    It is because of my deep love for Ocracoke and the people that I, a NC mainlander, have posted on this blog.

    Yes, I do hope some eyes are opened to the TRUTH.

  22. Anonymous9:51 AM

    So you are saying that Ocracoke is a haven for homosexual groups? That the majority of people there are gay or pro-gay? Do you have figures, statistics, demographic studies, personal experience to back this up?

    I find that although not all of us are gay-bashing, gay haters, that the vast majority of Americans still believe it is an unhealthy, immoral lifestyle.

    The gay community is just more vocal in spreading their message.

    Is Jimmy Creech gay? Seriously, I am not accusing, or condemning, I am just curious.

  23. Anonymous11:43 AM

    My gosh, in this day and age seems to me there are...or at least should be...much more important things to be concerned about than much of the preceding rhetoric!

  24. Anonymous11:47 AM

    Do you suppose Adam is aware of the events that transpired after that conversation with mr Creech ? Do you think Adam requested that his entire name not be used. Is it irony that the young man that approached the minister had the name Adam. Or in order to publish the lawyers suggested a name not that of the actual person? I find this more interesting .

  25. Anonymous1:34 PM

    As a visitor to Ocracoke I am very pleased you posted
    this information on the Ocracoke Island Journal. I look forward to reading the book. Thank you for the background information about Mr. Creech, very inspiring! Ron P.

  26. Anonymous2:25 PM

    what would Jesus do? would he spew hate filled comments of judgement? i find it funny how Jesus' followers are often dumbed down to take scripture at face value or to interpret it to their own twisted views. glad i moved out of the south and was raised Catholic. Catholicism may seem culty, but at least it's not super fanatical and just plain weird like them protestants.

    P.S. thanks for the blog. there are people who appreciate history and aren't ready to burn books.

  27. Anonymous4:05 PM

    or rainbow flags.

  28. Anonymous7:12 PM

    What a shame dear wonder this world is in such crazy shape. I have met some of the nicest & most talented people who are gay, HOWEVER, the Bible is very clear. God's Law is clear. Period. And, I know that if gay people (including the cordial one who lives next to my mother's home and went to school w/ me and is a super friendly neighbor) doesn't change his lifestyle....well, the Bible is quite specific. It's not my's God's Law. Those of us who accept the Bible as God's Law just want others to realize the seriousness. It's nothing to ignore. It saddens me...

    People didn't believe Noah when he built the ark that it would ever flood....

  29. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Philip, did you have any idea when you did this post................

  30. Anonymous3:12 AM

    it has generated more comments than Teenagers with knives.LOL

  31. debbie s.9:10 AM

    i dont have to agree with someone to respect them as a person.

    One of the great things about our country, is the ability we have to make our own choices- religious, sexual, and otherwise.

    regardless of whether or not I agree with someone, any one who has the courage to stand up for what they believe in, gets my respect.

    this world would be so boring if we were all WASP's...

  32. Hello to all of my readers! I have been off the island for a couple of days (dentist, ophthalmologist, shopping, errands, etc.). I wrote and scheduled this post for publication before I left. No, I had no idea it would generate so many one reader said, more than the post about teenagers and knives!

    I have always intended this blog to be a celebration of Ocracoke Island. It is not designed as a platform for political, religious, or ideological posturing. I wrote the article about Jimmy Creech because he was the Ocracoke Methodist Church pastor and my neighbor for eight years, and has remained a friend since then. Jimmy is a man of integrity, whether one holds his views or not. I think it is noteworthy that his book is being published by Duke University Press, and I thought our readers would be interested in knowing that. Although I realize the subject matter of his book is controversial, I naively thought this blog posting would be received simply for the information presented. Regardless of one’s views on the subject, reading Jimmy’s book would be a window on one former island resident’s experience about a currently relevant issue.

    'Nuff said.

  33. Anonymous10:08 AM

    I agree to disagree.

  34. In going through my in box I discovered another comment from 12:51 pm on Thursday that somehow never got posted on the web. I have copied it below. If anyone else submitted a comment that failed to get posted, please let me know.

    What hath Philip wrought?!?


    Actually, I suppose it would be prudent to first confirm whether Philip or one of his sometime-guest-bloggers posted this latest entry.

    Either way, I could tell when I saw 10 comments, that this was going to be a lively topic.

    My hats off to the folks who've quoted scripture (so far) for stating their beliefs thoughtfully and respectfully.

    While others may disagree--clearly--I admire those who can state their opinions, or express contrary thoughts, civilly.

    From the posted graphic, describing both the book, Adam's Gift, and its author, Jimmy Creech, I was intrigued by the description of how Adam's visit "prompted Creech to re-evaluate his belief that homosexuality was a sin, and to research the scriptural basis for the church's position. He determined that the church was mistaken, that scriptural translations and interpretations had been botched and dangerously distorted."

    Seems a thought-provoking read, regardless of one's opinion of this issue.

    I'll have to keep an eye out for the book and will happily forward today's blog post to other friends who may appreciate it.

    Once again, when it comes to Ocracoke--in the real world, or here in the virtual one--it's ALWAYS worth the trip.


  35. Anonymous12:39 PM

    I think the "personal relationship" some fans have with football coaches ie thou shalt not worship false idols should be emphasized by those that like to quote scripture. Some zealots engage in activities that are criminal and shameful and are totally unsportsman like. Haey ya"all do you have any examples??

  36. Anonymous10:13 PM

    I hate football. Hate all sports for that matter. Can't say I idolize anyone. Still think homosexuality is wrong. Case Closed.