Who is Pastor Craig Duke? GoFundMe page raises more than $58,000 after United Methodist Church pastor ‘relieved’ for appearing on HBO Drag show

Craig Duke, a pastor of the Newburgh United Methodist Church in Indiana, was recently “recommended” for performing drag on the second season of HBO Were here.

The show follows the journeys of performers Eureka O’Hara, Shangela Laquifa Wadley and Bob the Drag Queen, as they tour the country and help people from local communities perform like drag queens.


Latest episode of the show that saw pastor Craig Duke pull off with Eureka O’Hara on the popular issue of Kesha We R Who We CHEAP. Although the venerable tried to spread a message of love and equality through his performance, his actions are said to have offended some members of the parish.

Pastor said to Religious News Service that he started receiving negative emails from people gathered after the episode:

“It just got to the point where the conflict, the anger increased, and so did my mental health, I started to back off, and I told my regional manager that the conflict was too much, it was coming. such level. from some people, that I cannot be an effective leader. “

Everyone met Pastor Craig a few weeks ago in the Evansville, IN episode of #Were here Sadly, his participation in the performance caused the Church to “reduce his pastoral responsibility”. If you can contribute, great! If you can’t, please share!

I have attached an article featuring Craig and mentioning his involvement in the show. Craig is an amazing person and deserves the love he shares with everyone around him.

The situation further led to the Parish-Staff Relations Committee asking Craig Duke to apply for a new assignment from Bishop Julius C. Trimble of the Indiana Convention. The Reverend is officially relieved of his pastoral duties and it is mentioned that he will receive a pay cut until February 28, 2022.

Faced with that situation, the pastor’s friends organized GoFundMe campaign to provide financial support to Craig Duke and his wife as they prepare to restart their lives. The fundraiser has received tremendous support from many people and has raised more than $58,000.

Pastor Craig Duke’s Daughter Debuts Recently

Pastor Craig Duke's GoFundMe Fundraiser (Image via GoFundMe)
Pastor Craig Duke’s GoFundMe Fundraiser (Image via GoFundMe)

Pastor Craig Duke is an ordained member of the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church and has served as a pastor of the Newburgh United Methodist Church. Pastor recently made the news after appearing on HBO pull program Were here.

According to his GoFundMe page, the pastor considers himself “a man of faith, a father, a husband, a social justice advocate, and an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community.” He has successfully created an inclusive community in his church and is welcoming to people of all races, genders, and orientations in the congregation.

River City Pride recently nominated a pastor to participate in Were here but his performance offended some churchgoers. Before his performance, Craig Duke was expecting upheaval in the community but trying to build a bridge of equality, especially for Daughter who debuted last week:

“You can’t do a drag show like this in southern Indiana and not offend someone. I hope it is a bridge for my daughter, for the church I serve, for the denomination I love, and for me. And I hope that my voice will become stronger.”

Craig Duke appeared on the show as the drag queen, Miss Jonah Fark O’Hara wearing a white gown and pink gown. He went on stage to perform We R Who We CHEAP starring lead artist Eureka O’Hara.

Following his performance, the pastor also conveyed a message of love and hope to the audience:

“I just wanted to say this. If you’re the one here tonight and you’re wondering if there’s hope and a future and a god that loves you – oh, yes, there is. Don’t wait until you are allowed to do what you are asked to do. Go out and love people. ”

Unfortunately, Craig Duke was later relieved of his duties as a result of performance. Mitch Gieselman, director of the Indiana Unified Methodist Conference, signed an official letter stating that the situation had created a polarizing atmosphere in the church and therefore the authorities had come to the decision to allow both church and pastor come forward:

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution. I have received numerous calls and emails criticizing Craig Duke’s actions and I have received numerous messages supporting him. In such a polarizing climate. , our primary aim is to foster an environment in which both NUMC and the Duke family can move forward in grace.”

The letter confirms that Craig Duke will not be able to continue his current pastoral duties despite not being charged with any offence:

“Despite differing opinions as to the moral impact of Father Duke’s actions, he has not yet been found to have committed any indictable or other offence. for the United Methodist Book of Discipline. In short, Craig has reached the point where he feels he cannot continue to serve in his current parish ministry.”

The statement clarifies that the pastor is neither resigning nor fired but has been “removed” from his role as a result of his actions:

“Craig has not ‘resigned’, nor been ‘fired,’ as these are not actions that are consistent with our appointment system.”


Craig Duke’s departure is effective December 1, 2021, and he is prohibited from performing any pastoral duties at NUMC. Pastor and wife Linda was allowed to live in the analyst’s home “no later than February 28, 2022” but was prevented from entering the church “in any capacity”.

Pastor has received great love and support from HBO members Were here as well as those who have made a major contribution to his GoFundMe fundraiser. Who is Pastor Craig Duke? GoFundMe page raises more than $58,000 after United Methodist Church pastor ‘relieved’ for appearing on HBO Drag show

Aila Slisco

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