Jimmy Creech is a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, and was an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church from 1970 to 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Divinity from The Divinity School of Duke University. In 1965 and 1967, he studied with The Institute for Mediterranean Studies at Hebrew University and Hebrew Union Theological Seminary in Jerusalem, Israel, and at museums and archaeological sites in Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. He served as a pastor in churches of The North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1970 to 1990.
Creech was appointed senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, in July of 1996. Charges were brought against him for violating the Order and Discipline of the United Methodist Church after he celebrated a covenant ceremony for two women in September of 1997. He was acquitted during the church trial but charges were again filed against him by the Methodist Church in 1999 after he celebrated the holy union of two men in Chapel Hill, N.C.. The jury in that trial declared Creech guilty of “disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church” and withdrew his credentials of ordination.
Since the summer of 1998, Creech has traveled around the country preaching in churches and speaking on college and university campuses, as well as to various community and national gay rights organizations. He recently completed writing a book, entitled Adam’s Gift, about his experiences of the Church’s struggle to welcome and accept lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
Creech has been active in a number of organizations, including the Raleigh HIV/AIDS Support Group; Methodist Federation for Social Action; Raleigh Religious Network for Gay and Lesbian Equality; AIDS Service Agency for Wake County (NC); North Carolina Pride Political Action Committee; Reconciling Ministries Network; North Carolinians Against the Death Penalty; People of Faith Against the Death Penalty (NC); North Carolina Low Income Housing Coalition; Covenant with North Carolinas Children; Omaha Faith Committee of Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty; Soulforce, Inc.; and North Carolina Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality.
He has been recognized with numerous distinguished awards for his work, including Lee and Mae Ball Award; North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence Award; Paul Green Award; Triangle (NC) Business and Professional Guild Award; Heart of Freedom Award; North Carolina Pride Inc. Award; Metropolitan Community Church Saint Award; selected as one of OUT Magazine’s 100 in 1998 and 1999; Human Rights Campaign Equality Award; American People Award; 1999 Dignity Award; Pride Interfaith Coalition Award; Year 2000 Flagbearer Award; Triangle Community Service Award 2000; Straight Ally of the Year; and honored by The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry and Pacific School for Religion as “A Leading Voice” for Commitment to the Struggle of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People for Honor and Dignity.