Gay marriage impacts North Carolina Catholic churches, local interfaith service

From the Charlotte Observer: 

One Catholic Church in Charlotte fired music director Steav Bates-Congdon after he married his longtime male partner.

Now another has pulled out of hosting the city’s largest interfaith service rather than allow Bates-Congdon to be part of the team planning the annual event.

Mecklenburg Ministries’ 38th annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service is still on for Nov. 26. But it’ll be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Dilworth, not at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Ballanytne – Charlotte’s biggest house of worship.

And Bates-Congdon, now music director at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fort Mill, will play a prominent role in the interfaith musical program – as he has for several years.

Monsignor John McSweeney, who pastors St. Matthew, said Sunday he declined Mecklenburg Ministries’ request that he formally invite Bates-Congdon to again help plan the service because “in no way would we give the impression that the Catholic Church approves of same-sex marital covenants.”

That view clashed with the mission statement at Mecklenburg Ministries, which has nearly 100 member congregations of various faiths. So it moved the event.

“At the heart of our core values is honoring the dignity of all people and not excluding anyone,” said the Rev. Christy Snow, who chairs the committee planning the interfaith service.

Read the rest for the background and context.


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