Gay pastor hopes to spread message of love after theft from office

CINCINNATI -- Several hundred people gathered inside Clifton United Methodist Church Sunday night to share a message of love weeks after a theft inside the pastor's office.

That pastor, Rev. David Meredith, believes the theft was a hate crime because he is gay. Meredith has been with his husband, Jim, for nearly 30 years.

"They came into my office, looked around and found the two things they wanted, which is what makes this so surgically destructive," Meredith said.

The thief took Meredith's ordination papers and his seminary diploma.

"It's low, it's childish," he said. "It's unconscionable behavior."

But people of many different faiths came together Sunday to listen to a sermon on rising against hate.

Rabbi Lindsey Danzinger said it was "really powerful to be here with people from all different faith backgrounds, all singing one song literally and figuratively."

Meredith was surprised Sunday with dozens of ordination papers and diplomas.

"I was overwhelmed," he said. "Flooded with the love and support of this congregation. They've been terrific."

Meredith said there's more work to be done. He hopes his message spreads.

"Even though we've received some levels of official equality, like a marriage license, it doesn't mean attitudes have changed," he said. "It certainly doesn't mean the work is done."

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