Twenty-two years ago, Reverend Oliver White founded Grace Community United Church of Christ in a low-income black neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a strong congregation with 320 members — until 2005, when White stood up at a synod of the United Church of Christ and voiced his support of gay marriage. Then he came home and told his congregation what he had done.
“I thought they were with me,” he says, “but much to my chagrin, I immediately started losing members.” Over the next few weeks, two thirds of his members left the congregation.
This month, the church may close its doors altogether. White is currently struggling to raise $200,000 to pay back a loan on the church building by June 30. Even if the money comes through, there’s no guarantee that he will ever fill his pews again. But White, who once marched with the Civil Rights movement, remains adamant in his support of gay marriage. He spoke to me about his views on the subject and the deeper reasons the issue has met with so much resistance from the black church.
-more at Atlantic
- Essay: ‘I love the black church, but the black church doesn’t love me’ (thegrio.com)
- Black churches conflicted on Obama’s gay marriage decision – USA TODAY (usatoday.com)
- New Book Supports Gays in Gospel Music (theroot.com)
- Stance On Gay Marriage May Cost Rev. His Church (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- Minn. pastor supports gay rights, may lose church (sfgate.com)
- Gay marriage vote divides Minnesota clergy (queerchurchnews.wordpress.com)