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Local United Methodist Church Responds to Tuesday's National Vote

February 28, 2019 10:22 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester is still processing the decision by church delegates around the globe that took place earlier this week in St. Louis.

“It’s been a very challenging week, a very painful week,” said Associate Pastor Kathy Lee.

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Hundreds of leaders gathered to talk about the church’s stance on same-sex marriage and gay clergy members.

“We actually had called this as a special conference specifically just to talk about LGBTQI issues,” Lee said.

Many in the U.S. hoped the delegates would vote in favor of the “one church plan” which would’ve let individual congregations make their own decisions.

“The American church delegates was two-thirds in favor of the one church, the more flexible plan,” Lee said.

Instead, they voted for the “traditional” plan.

“One that maintains the current status we have of not being able to have openly gay clergy, not being able to perform same-sex weddings,” Lee explained.

“It’s very difficult because a lot of people have gone to this religion from some other religions that may not have been as accepting,” said Darcie Baumann, Chair of Twin Cities Pride.

“We just can’t imagine why in 2019 someone’s sexual identity or gender identity should be any reason to question whether they should be included in any group of people,” said Lydia Ewing-Green, who works at Peace United Church of Christ, which has a number of support groups for the LGBTQ+ community.

Lee said she was shocked by the vote.

“It is a symbol of the division within our denomination and seems to be putting forth the ball rolling down the hill of a church split,” she said.

The vote has to go before a judicial council in April before anything’s official, but Lee said that doesn’t lessen the hurt caused by the Church’s stance.

“The slogan is open minds, open hearts, open doors in the Methodist Church and that doesn’t feel like such a strong, consistent statement right now, but it is true in this space,” Lee said.

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