The future of the United Methodist Church when it comes to LGBT inclusion is being decided this week.
Over 800 members are meeting in St. Louis, Missouri to determine how the church views gay marriage and the ordination of gay clergy.
“At the moment, we are not allowed to perform gay weddings. We’re not allowed to ordain openly gay people,” said Vicky Kelley, pastor of Girard First United Methodist Church.
She said the church should be a safe place for anyone to be.
“Where people can come and be accepted for who they are, loved exactly as they are but they don’t have to agree on everything.”
Right now, delegates and observers from around the world are deciding if the UMC will change its stance on LGBT matters. To do that, they would change the United Methodist Book of Discipline, which guides the church.
“Are we organized around believing exactly the same thing around every issue, including this one, or are we organized around our mission, which is to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?” Kelley said.
J.P. Snyder, pastor of New Waterford United Methodist Church, said it’s a tough decision.
“If I was a delegate, someone that had to cast my vote at this general conference, I think it would be hard,” he said.
He said people interpret what they read in Scripture differently.
“There’s individuals that see in Scripture that homosexuality is said to be a sin and so that would taint their righteousness.”
Kelley said she wants the church as a whole to be able to progress.
“We want to be able to move forward and be able to do those things so that everyone is fully included in the life of the church.”
Members of the United Methodist Church will vote on a plan on Tuesday.