In Uncategorized on November 1, 2012 at 11:39 am
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.
In Uncategorized on July 17, 2012 at 9:33 am
After nearly two decades of separation sparked by its inclusion of a gay pastor, a San Francisco congregation has finally rejoined the Lutheran Church.
On Sunday, First United Lutheran Church voted to rejoin the church nearly three years after receiving an apology and an invitation to reunite, according to the Examiner.
The reunion follows a 17-year split between the congregation and the Lutheran church after the congregation ordained–and refused to abandon–an openly gay pastor. The congregation was suspended in 1990, and formally expelled in 1995. Another San Francisco congregation, St. Francis Lutheran Church, was also cut loose for its protection of two lesbian pastors in the same year.
Finally in 2009, The Lutheran Church voted to admit gay and lesbian pastors into the clergy, issuing an apology and an invitation to reunite to both of the San Francisco congregations.
“There’s been an acknowledgment that these two congregations were forward-thinking and committed to their ministry,” said Bishop Mark Holmerud to the San Francisco Chronicle at the time. “They took a stand, paid the consequences, and our church has finally seen the wisdom of our opening the rosters to all committed gay and lesbian couples. And we’re all the better for it.”
via First United Lutheran Church, San Francisco Congregation Banned For Gay Pastor, Rejoins Church.
In Marriage and family on July 12, 2012 at 11:16 am
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.
In Uncategorized on May 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm
An eastern Louisville Baptist church has ordained an openly gay man as a minister with unanimous support from church members.
Highland Baptist Church on Sunday ordained Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard, a local gay-rights advocate who started the church’s gay and lesbian outreach group last year.
Church Pastor Joe Phelps says ordaining Blanchard was “new territory” for the church but in April it moved to support his ordination.
The Fairness Campaign, a Louisville-based gay rights organization, hailed Blanchard’s ordination as 1 of only about two dozen at Baptist churches in the U.S.