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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 8, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 10
Local Methodists react to UMC decision against LGBTQ clergy
Section One
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Local Methodists react to UMC decision against LGBTQ clergy

by Tim Peter - SGN Contributing Writer

The United Methodist Church met in St. Louis, Mo., last month to discuss ordination of LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages. The vote was 53 per cent in favor of the traditional interpretation of marriage to 47 per cent opposed. The vast majority of delegates from the United States voted for the inclusive option, while many of those attending from different African and Asian nations voted along more conservative lines.

The Rev. Austin Adkinson, pastor of Haller Lake UMC in Seattle, attended the conference. Adkinson, who identifies as Queer, sits on the Board of Ordained Ministry for UMC, which approves clergy candidates. He is also a member of UMC's Queer Clergy, which advocates for LGBTQ issues within the church at large.

'We are sharply divided at the international level, but 70% of delegates in USA voted for inclusion. We've seen a groundswell of support across the country that has been quiet before but who are now speaking up and saying this is not who we are. We've seen rainbow flags at churches across the USA. But how we solve that politically has yet to be seen.'

He added, 'We have a hard time talking about sexuality with people of our own language, and we're dealing with people from different cultures. We're the only denomination that tries to do this internationally and democratically. We hoped the denomination would move forward; (instead) we went backwards.'

Seattle First United Methodist Church, aka First Church is part of Reconciling Ministries Network, which 'equips and mobilizes United Methodists to resist evil, injustice and oppression as we seek justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities,' according to www.rmnetwork.org.

'We have been open and affirming for many years,' said Rev. Jeremy Smith, senior pastor of First Church. 'This conference does not change that, and it makes us be even more resolute and active in inclusion of all people. In the UMC there's a conflict of what the global conference says and what the region practices. In this region we've been practicing full inclusion for many years. This decision does not change that. There's a new spirit of resistance and a new call to respond in more faithful ways.'

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