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Campus minister faces discipline after officiating same-sex wedding

The Wesley Student Center, located at 120 North Dubuque Street in Iowa City, is part of the United Methodist Church.

Anna Blaedel was raised Methodist - and now works as the director of spiritual formation at the Wesley Center in Iowa City. She credits that community for becoming a foundation of faith for her while she was a student at the University of Iowa in the early 2000s.

But she has had a complicated relationship with the religion and the United Methodists since last summer at the Iowa Annual Conference.

"I made a three-minute speech on the floor of the conference and came out," she said on Wednesday.

While Blaedel says her proclamation wasn't a revelation to those that knew her, the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church filed a complaint against her following the speech, citing the church's Incompatibility Clause.

"That says that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching," Blaedel said. "I believe that clause is, in and of itself, incompatible with Christian teaching."

That complaint from June was dismissed - but a second one was filed in April after Blaedel officiated a same-sex wedding in Oklahoma for one of her close friends.

According to a letter sent to Iowa United Methodist clergy around the area after the complaint was filed, Paragraph 2072.1.b of the church's Book of Discipline prohibits "conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies."

Blaedel says she knew the risk - and doesn't regret anything.

"I knew a complaint could cost me my clergy credentials, my job, my employment, my income, my health insurance, and my place of spiritual belonging," she said, "but I knew that saying 'no' because of fear and self-protection would cost me my integrity."

The Wesley Center board of directors posted a statement of support for Blaedel on Facebook last week. She will have another hearing in Des Moines on Monday.

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