United Methodist Welcomes LGBTQ Community
By edhat staff
First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara installed rainbow-colored banners to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.
The church located at 305 E. Anapamu Street recently posted the temporary banners on its front doors with the phrase, "God's Doors Are Open To All."
In a recent press release, the church stated this is in response to the decision by the global United Methodist Church to tighten the restrictions that do not allow openly gay persons to be ordained as pastors and do not allow clergy to marry same-sex couples or churches to hold same-sex weddings in their sanctuaries.
"The people of our congregation, along with many other United Methodists around the world, do not accept the decision of the global church and will continue to be in ministry with and for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity or sexual orientation. We believe everyone is to be welcomed, blessed and affirmed at God’s table," First United Methodist Church stated.
In late February, 2019, at a meeting of delegates representing the 13-million-member United Methodist Church, an action was taken to reinforce the worldwide church’s stated opposition to same-sex relationships and marriage, and to the ordination of openly gay clergy called "The Traditional Plan."
A majority of American delegates had voted against "The Traditional Plan," although they were outvoted by more conservative delegates from Africa and other continents, reports The Washington Post.
Following the vote, a groundswell of voices within the church including powerful pastors and bishops have voiced opposition and look to overturn or undermine the decision. Options have been discussed to split the church into two denominations and withhold funds until the pressure prompts the denomination to redo the recent vote at the next worldwide meeting in May 2020 in Minneapolis.
The local Santa Barbara church reports a growing number of United Methodist individuals and churches are joining the Reconciling Ministries Network, an advocacy group working for the full inclusion of our LGBTQIA+ siblings in the life and ministry of the church.
"Unfortunately, the institutional church gets it wrong sometimes... the institutional church in this case wrongly held onto its discriminatory, unbiblical and harmful language," states First United Methodist Church.