Tampa Bay United Methodist clergy to defy the Church’s LGBTI ban

The sign outside Allendale's UMC, apologizing to the LGBTI community on behalf of the Church

On 26 February, international delegates from the United Methodist Church voted to uphold bans on the LGBTI community. This included rejecting a proposal which would allow regional church bodies to decide whether or not to ordain members of the LGBTI community and perform same-sex weddings. Additionally, they upheld a ‘Traditional Plan’ which would penalize clergy people who break these rules.

However, the Church’s Tampa Bay clergy have vowed to defy this LGBTI ban.

Tell Me More

According to Tampa Bay Times, following the conference, clergymen in Florida had their own ideas for how the Tampa Bay congregation will respond.

‘This outcome is a profound disappointment to many of us who were pushing for greater justice and equality,’ Rev. Magrey deVega, senior pastor at Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa, wrote in a 27 February letter to his congregation.

‘A lot of tears have been falling. We weep together, among the LGBTQ persons who are stunned, saddened, and harmed by this news,’ he continued. ‘We weep among the thousands of young clergy and laity in our denomination who are angered and disillusioned.’

History of defying the Church

Rev. Andy Oliver of Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida told Tampa Bay Times that churches in the United States have long defied the Church’s LGBTI policies and this will not change.

‘Clergy like myself have been openly officiating same-sex marriages,’ he said. ‘The church calls us, when we see laws that are unjust, to dissent. So I have been practicing that at the risk of losing my orders.’

He added that the majority of American delegates at the conference supported the change. Additionally, he says, the Traditional Plan may soon be deemed unconstitutional by the Church’s judicial body.

‘The entire Western region of the church declared at the end of the conference they will continue to ignore the church’s discriminatory laws.’

‘We are not leaving,’ he stated. ‘The conservative faction of the church, even before the conference, said they did want to leave. So what did pass was an exit plan which may open the door for some churches to leave and form their own denomination.’

Still, Oliver worries about the implications of the vote to uphold the Traditional Plan.

‘The immediate effect is the harm done to the LGBTQ community and specifically children and youth,’ he said. ‘These are the kids that are at the highest risk for suicide and when a young person is sent the message that they are not loved by God that has life and death implications.’

Anything else?

Oliver’s Allendale United Methodist Church took out a full-page ad in the Tampa Bay Times. In the ad, they apologize to the LGBTI community on behalf of the Church.

See Also:

United Methodist Church appoints first transgender deacon

The Methodist Church fires pastor for officiating a lesbian wedding

Methodist church’s highest court rejects first openly lesbian bishop

Author: Rafaella Gunz

The post Tampa Bay United Methodist clergy to defy the Church’s LGBTI ban appeared first on Gay Star News.

Gay Christian delivers rousing speech pleading for church to accept him

Jeffrey Warren giving a speech to United Methodist Church delegates on LGBTI rights

On Saturday (23 February), international delegates from the United Methodist Church gathered for a conference in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the topics discussed over the four-day event was LGBTI rights, including banning same-sex marriage and ordaining gay clergy members.

The delegates voted on this matter today (26 February), the final day of the conference.

In the vote, a majority (56%) of the more than 800 delegates present supported the Traditional Plan. This maintains the aforementioned bans and also strictly enforces them.

It was formally approved by a vote of 438-384.

Others supported the opposition plan, called the One Church Plan. It called to leave such matters up to regional church bodies and remove languge from the church’s law book reading that ‘the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching’.

One such person advocating for the church to embrace LGBTI rights is Jeffrey ‘J.J.’ Warren.

Following the preliminary vote on Monday (25 February), the gay, aspiring pastor gave an impassioned speech to his fellow delegates.

JJ Warren Full Speech @ GC2019

JJ Warren offered this impassioned plea for the full inclusion of LGBTQIA persons within The United Methodist Church. After a day filled with close votes, the room erupted in response to this moment of light.

Posted by Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church on Monday, February 25, 2019

Pain of a crucifixion

‘We desire a church that seeks the justice of God,’ Warren said of himself and other young church members. ‘A church that doesn’t waste its money on a conference and come out with no decision because it was unconstitutional.

‘The pain that would happen from this crucifixion of putting the nails in our Methodist Church, the pain of this death might be worth a resurrection, but I’d like to see first if that can happen together without being called unconstitutional with whatever we decide.’

With a rising voice, Warren talks of his time at university and spreading his evangelism.

‘We have brought people to Jesus because they said they have not heard this message before.

‘They didn’t know God could love them because their churches said God didn’t.’

Warren goes on to say he one day wants to be a pastor and preach for a church that says God loves everyone. He is met with loud applause and cheers from the audience gathered.

Many who were not there took to Twitter to praise Warren.

People also commended his bravery and supported his desire to become a pastor.

What happened with the vote

According to AP News, a majority of the support for the Traditional Plan came from overseas delegates, specifically from Africa.

Rev. Jerry Kulah of Liberia said if the bans were lessened or lifted, the ‘church in Africa would cease to exist’.

He continued: ‘We can’t do anything but to support the Traditional Plan — it is the biblical plan.

Many are predicting a schism in the church. They said they expect some progressive members to leave the church and clergy members defying the vote and continuing to perform same-sex marriages.

As for Warren, he tweeted the plans to ‘drag this cross (in heels if it comes to it) as far as we must’.

See also

Californian school protested by Bastille-singing Westboro Baptist Church

Catholic cardinals will hold summit to end ‘plague of homosexual agenda’

The Methodist Church fires pastor for officiating a lesbian wedding

Author: Anya Crittenton

The post Gay Christian delivers rousing speech pleading for church to accept him appeared first on Gay Star News.