It’s Not Easy Being a Pro-Gay Black Church

Rev. Oliver White's congregation may not survive his decision to support gay ordination. (Jerry Holt/StarTribune)

As Rose French reports in the StarTribune, the only black congregation that is officially “open and affirming” now hovers on the brink of closure:

The Rev. Oliver White knew not everyone at his St. Paul church was going to agree with his support for gay marriage.

But he never imagined that nearly two-thirds of his congregation would leave.

And now, Grace Community United Church of Christ, the only UCC church in Minnesota with a predominantly black congregation, is in desperate straits. The church has until June 30 to raise $200,000 to pay off a loan, otherwise it likely will be forced to close, White says.

Read the rest, including where contributions are coming from: St. Paul UCC church at brink of closing over gay-marriage stand | StarTribune.com.

  • http://hardtruth.squarespace.com Tom Estes

    This is why a congregational form of church government is better than a situation where churches are controlled by the denomination. In congregational government, the members could have gotten rid of that pastor who is clearly going against the Word of God, rather than being forced to go elsewhere.

    • http://cjsoapbox.tumblr.com CJ

      What happens if it’s the congregation that’s wrong? Like when congregations refused to follow the will of the bishops in the Methodist Episcopal Church and continued to support slavery and segregation in the 19th century and forcing the formation of two separate black Methodist Episcopal denominations.

      Throughout the history of the church we have met together to pray and debate to understand what God wants us to do. And everything we use to determine the will of God comes from those councils. So the idea of one church just up and deciding what it wants to do based on it’s interpretation of God’s will is as absurd to me as one person deciding what he wants to do based on his interpretation of God’s will. Sometimes one person or one small group does get a line on the right answer. But, we’ve been better when we’ve done these things together.

      • Chris

        If the congregation is wrong then it’s wrong, and time will eventually show whether a church is being faithful to the biblical witness or not, just as it showed how those churches that advocated for slavery were not being faithful and now no longer exist. If the congregation is wrong it has to be demonstrated and not assumed. Simply saying the church was wrong about “X” social issue back then, therefore it must be wrong about “Y” social issue today does not compute. It means nothing, other than to say we “could” be wrong today, which is always true. But as I said it has to be shown or demonstrated, and not just assumed.

        I think the reason that most black people don’t see their struggle the same as the GLBT struggle is because they just don’t equate racial identity, something that is intrinsic to the self, with sexual preference, something that has not been shown to be intrinsic to one’s identity. Especially since people do express sexual and gender confusion and experimentation. That’s something that cannot take place in the context of race. It is fixed. Intrinsic.

        • https://www.facebook.com/amaryahshaye Amaryah Armstrong

          Too bad for your argument race is a construction of modernity… kind of like sexuality…

    • Aaron

      The United Church of Christ churches DO have a congregational form of church governance. The denomination can’t “control” individual church decisions.

      Thank God though the pastors who called for the death of all GLBT in the last two weeks aren’t losing any members! That isn’t against the word of god in the slightest!

    • Curtis

      As Aaron said, this church *does* have a congregational structure. Part of the reason UCC is so diverse, with both traditional, conservative congregations, as well as congregations more liberal than any mainline protestant church, all of them under the umbrella of UCC, is because each member congregation is independent in matters of doctrine and ministry.


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