top of page

Remembering Our United Methodist Heritage
in the Mountain Sky:

Remembering Rev. Julian Rush's Legacy

The rich legacy of Rev. Julian Rush (1946-2023) in the United Methodist quest for full inclusiveness of LGBTQ+ persons in the life of the church and our society cannot be simply stated.  An icon of inclusiveness, Julian served with distinction as a pastor in the Mountain Sky Conference until his retirement.  When he died in November, after a short illness, he was serving as an honorary member of the Steering Committee of the United Methodist Association of Retired Clergy and Friends (UMARC).  


Outed involuntarily in 1981 as a gay pastor, he helped the Mountain Sky Conference (and its predecessor the Rocky Mountain Conference) to grapple with the challenges of truly being inclusive.  Supported by then Bishop Melvin Wheatley, he served St. Paul's United Methodist Church and then gave 17 years of splendid service as Executive Director of the Colorado AIDS Project, during the height of the HIV and AIDS crisis.  

Bishop Melvin W. Wheatley

In 1979, forty-four years ago, in Colorado Springs then Rocky Mountain host Bishop Melvin W. Wheatley, courageously stood alone and defied the entire United Methodist Council of Bishops. He declared he would not endorse their condemnation of homosexuality. With courage and eloquence, in a kind of United Methodist “Stonewall” moment, he began to break the barriers that prohibited LGBTQ+ persons full participation in the life of the church. 

bottom of page