In many Christian denominations and local congregations, the rights of same – sex couples to full inclusion in church is gaining acceptance. One recent example is Grace Pointe church, Tennessee. This series of three videos shows the sermon in which Pastor Stan Mitchell announced the decision:
Part two of the the sermon in which Pastor Stan Mitchell announced the decision by GracePointe church, Tennessee, to back full inclusion in church life for lgbt people, including in church leadership and support for same – sex church weddings:
Part three of the the sermon in which Pastor Stan Mitchell announced the decision by GracePointe church, Tennessee, to back full inclusion in church life for lgbt people, including in church leadership and support for same – sex church weddings:
d. June 2, 1921
From the Belfast Telegraph:
A gay cleric who preaches in drag wants to bring his message of love to Belfast.
Belfast born Ron Eberly, who describes himself as “Christ Drag Queen”, left for Canada in 1975, but now he wants to return home to speak in churches as his glamorous alter ego — Mz Rhonda.
The son of a baptist preacher, Ron emigrated from Penrose Street off the Ormeau Road with his family and later attended bible college in Canada.
He met his wife with whom he had two children during a missionary trip to Belize — but they divorced eight years later when Ron realised he “had to live an honest life”.
Ron’s family disowned him for 20 years after he came out, but he reconciled with them shortly before his parents’ deaths in 2012.
He still uses his late mother’s hats to perform as Mz Rhonda because he says they make him look like “a little church lady”.
Ron found love and married again 14 years ago, but this time to a man.
– full report at BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.
In December 2013, Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. Huffington Post reports on a similar case, and other Methodist pastors who are defying church regulations, by conducting same – sex church weddings, or by living openly with a same – sex partner.
Rev. Thomas Ogletree, Another Methodist Pastor, To Be Tried For Presiding At Same Sex Wedding Of Son
The United Methodist Church has formally charged another clergyman for presiding at the same-sex wedding of his son.
The Rev. Thomas Ogletree will be tried March 10 for violating church law against officiating at gay unions, his spokeswoman, Dorothee Benz, announced Friday. It’s the second high-profile United Methodist trial in recent months over same-sex relationships. In December, pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. The church considers homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Ogletree is a theologian, a former Yale Divinity School dean and a retired elder in the church’s New York district, or Annual Conference. Some clergy had filed a complaint after his son’s 2012 wedding announcement appeared in The New York Times.
Ogletree, 80, said he could not refuse his son’s request to preside at the wedding, which was held in New York, where gay marriage is legally recognized.
-continue reading at .Huffington Post
“On the second or third night of the conference,” according to Mr. Bond-Upson, “after dinner, Jim got up to speak. He told us that he’d been doing a lot of hard thinking that summer. Jim told us he could no longer live a lie. He’d been hiding his nature — his true self — from everyone except his closest friends. ‘If the revolution we’re in means anything,’ he said, ‘it means we have the right to be ourselves, without shame or fear.’
“Then he told us he was gay, and had always been gay, and it wasn’t a choice, and he wasn’t ashamed anymore and that he wasn’t going to hide it anymore, and from now on he was going to be himself in public. After he concluded, there was a dead silence, then a couple of the young women went up and hugged him, followed by general congratulations. The few who did not approve kept their peace.” ’
As soon as Michael Overman announced that he was gay, the Southern Baptist church that raised him, led him to attend an evangelical Christian college and inspired him to pursue ministry left him feeling abandoned.
He stayed estranged from Christianity for about six years before eventually finding his way to Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, a congregation in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood that welcomes gays and lesbians.
Reinvigorated by the church’s acceptance, he enrolled at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston and sought ordination in his new denomination.
But the United Methodist Church does not ordain gay clergy in committed relationships. That created a predicament for Overman, who joined his partner in a civil union last spring. He knew he could try keeping his relationship private as some partnered gay clergy opt to do. But that approach made him uncomfortable.
“If I’m going to be in ministry, I’m going to be in ministry as my whole self,” said Overman, 28, who lives in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. “When I look at Christian faith, it was always Christ’s mission to restore people in the community and restore people to wholeness. It didn’t make sense to me to go into ministry as a closeted person. That felt inauthentic.”
Following a number of gay and lesbian former Methodists who find themselves unable to serve in the church that cultivated their calling, Overman withdrew from the denomination last month to seek ordination instead in the Disciples of Christ Church, which accepts openly gay clergy in committed relationships. The departure of Overman and others spotlights the internal drama in one of the last mainline Protestant denominations that require gay clergy to stay celibate. Methodist teaching states that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.
more at– chicagotribune.com.
A Methodist Churchman who was dismissed from service after conducting a formal blessing for a union of two men in Chapel Hill.
In April of 1999, Creech celebrated the holy union of two men in Chapel Hill. Charges were brought against him and a church trial was held in Grand Island, Nebraska, on November 17, 1999. In August of 1998, the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church ruled that the statement prohibiting “homosexual unions” was church law in spite of its location in the Social Principles. Consequently, the jury in this second trial declared Creech guilty of “disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church” and withdrew his credentials of ordination.Since the summer of 1998, Creech has been travelling around the country to preach in churches and to speak on college and university campuses, as well as to various community and national Gay Rights organizations. Currently, he is writing a book about his experiences of the Church’s struggle to welcome and accept lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. He is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Soulforce, Inc., an interreligious movement using the principles of nonviolent resistance, taught and practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., to confront the spiritual violence perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons by religious institutions.(Read the full bio at LGBT Religious Archives)
Winning a Special Jury Prize at Sundance, Love Free or Die has already become a pivotal film this year as President Obama has embraced its subject matter: gay marriage. Even more timely, the Episcopal Church has just approved a same sex blessing service.
The documentary follows Gene Robinson, the first openly gay ordained Bishop who becomes a symbol of both LGBT pioneering and exemplary Christian values of compassion, forgiveness and tolerance.
From Robinson’s chronicles of discrimination abroad to his relationship with his partner Mark, the film takes a personal look at the role faith plays in his and others’ lives, brushing aside the notion that Christianity is only for fundamentalists and evangelicals. Compelling for secular audiences and non-LGBT viewers, the film finds that the greater love that guides people must be shared.
Robinson has faced so much open hatred for his lifestyle that he wore a bullet proof vest to his own consecration. The film shows Robinson discovering another plot on his life, prompting deep questioning and thanks to above. Bishop Robinson was invited by Barack Obama to give the invocation at the opening inaugural ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18, 2009.
This scene of Bishop Robinson speaking before serving cups of water at the Gay Pride Parade is riveting, and a rallying cry that should be seen in its entirety and taken to heart.
– full report by John Wellington Ellis, at Huffington Post.
- Gene Robinson: Gay Marriage is God’s Work (queerchurchnews.wordpress.com)
- Episcopal Church Moves Toward Greater LGBT Inclusion (thinkprogress.org)
- U.S. Episcopalians move closer to allowing transgender ministers (queerchurchnews.wordpress.com)