FORT WAYNE, IND. (WPTA 21) – Divide in the Methodist Church, and some say they don’t know how to move forward.
“Anybody belongs to the church, and up until yesterday we were together. Now we are divided. Probably forever,” said Pastor Jacob Williams of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church.
Almost 900 delegates from the Methodist Church decided yesterday to continue a ban on LGBTQ people.
The ban means people in the LGBTQ community can’t serve in leadership roles in the church, and the church will not recognize same-sex marriages.
Some church leaders say they’re going to continue to preach how they see fit.
Pastor Williams has been preaching for the United Methodist Church for 38 years, and say after Tuesday’s vote to pass the “traditional plan” he isn’t sure the church will remain a cohesive unit.
“What you are saying is no to God’s creation, how do we do that? What gives us the right to say no to anybody because God created them that way,” said Williams.
In the 1960’s church board members of the Methodist Church voted to exclude African Americans form the church, Williams says he feel this is the same thing.
“They excluded me for no other reason because of my color, so who am I to do that against anybody else,” said Williams.
The ban essentially means the church’s rules will stay the same, that no one in a same sex relationship can be a church leader, and that same sex marriages won’t be recognized.
Williams says, “it feels hypocritical,” and adds it basically means gays aren’t accepted in the church.
“If you don’t see it my way, then it’s the highway for you, how dare us to say that,” added Williams.
After a vote of 438 to 384 at the St. Louis gathering the issue has church members divided, and church leaders trying to address any differences.
“I think, the important thing is, despite what happens here, The Gathering is going to continue to move forward with a ministry that fully includes all of people, including LGBTQ people,” said Matt Miofsky who organized The Gathering.
Williams says churches are already leaving the denomination because of the issue.
“Jesus died for all of us including you, we will keep that in check,” said Williams.
Williams says he will continue to preach how he sees fit, “As I see it, nothing has changed. I am going to love them as I have always loved them, and the rules say I’m not supposed to marry them, but I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.”
Pastor Williams says the Bishop is set to talk to everyone affiliated with the Methodist church on March 3rd.