NASHVILLE, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia minister in an open sexual relationship with another woman lost her fight Monday with the United Methodist Church.
The Judicial Council, the church's highest court, ruled that the Rev. Irene "Beth" Stroud cannot remain an ordained minister, the Washington Post reported. The council also reinstated Edward Johnson, a minister who was suspended from a Virginia church for denying membership to a gay man, and rejected a statement from church members in northwestern states that there is a "difference of opinion among faithful Christians regarding sexual orientation and practice."
Stroud was pastor of a Philadelphia church in 2003 when she told the congregation she was in a relationship with a woman. A jury of 13 ministers stripped her of her credentials, but she was reinstated on technical grounds by an appeals court.
She told the Post she plans to remain at the church as a lay minister.
In Johnson's case, the council voted 5-3 that local ministers have the authority to decide on church membership.