same-sex marriage

Meghan Florian 6-01-2016

Image via REUTERS/Bruno Domingos/RNS

The Virginia Mennonite Conference suspended a pastor’s ministerial credentials May 25 because he officiated at a same-sex wedding.

The Rev. Isaac Villegas of the Chapel Hill (N.C.) Mennonite Fellowship and my pastor, is “at variance” with the conference, which belongs to the Mennonite Church USA. The denomination, with some 100,000 members, holds that marriage is “a covenant between one man and one woman for life.”

Image via Mike DuBose / UMNS / RNS

While many evangelical church bodies have reiterated their “no” to homosexuality — and most mainline Protestant traditions have said “yes” — the United Methodist Church, which concluded its quadrennial meeting last week, remains as divided and muddled as ever.

Image via Emily McFarlan Miller / RNS

The debate — over how to debate the rules — became so convoluted that at one point Missouri delegate Margie Briggs called for prayer and said:

“I believe we are confusing God at this point.”

Archbishop-elect Jackson Nasoore Ole Sapit. Image via Fredrick Nzwili / RNS

Bishop Jackson Nasoore Ole Sapit, a traditionalist who nonetheless steered clear of gay issues, has been elected the new archbishop of Kenya.

Ole Sapit, 52, who headed Kericho Diocese in western Kenya, will replace outgoing Archbishop Eliud Wabukala and also serve as bishop of All Saints Cathedral, the national seat of the Anglican Church.

Image via Emily McFarlan Miller / RNS

Amid protest, song, and fears of a denominational breakup, United Methodists at their quadrennial General Conference decided yet again not to decide anything regarding LGBT rights.

But in a groundbreaking move, the delegates from the U.S. and abroad voted 428-405 on May 18 to allow the church’s Council of Bishops to appoint a commission to discuss whether to accept same-sex marriage or ordain LGBT clergy.

Bishop Elaine Stanovksy (left) receives Communion from activists Sue Laurie (right) and Julie Bruno. Image via Mike DuBose / UMNS / RNS

Delegates to the United Methodist Church General Conference shot down a strategy that would have allowed them to discuss contentious legislation in small groups.

Portland, Ore. Image via REUTERS/Richard Clement/RNS

The United Methodist Church General Conference convenes once every four years to make policy decisions and set the direction for the denomination.

Beginning May 10, 864 delegates, half of them clergy, will converge on the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for 10 days for the General Conference. More than 40 percent of those delegates will come from outside the U.S.

Calling for an overhaul in the way Catholics approach family issues, Pope Francis issued an apostolic exhortation that maintains core church teachings on divorce and sexuality.

But stressing the need for “a healthy dose of self-criticism,” Francis used the document to outline his views on how the church should respond to modern-day realities of family life, going so far as to encourage husbands to do more household chores and parents to put down their mobile phones.

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer. Image via Sally Morrow/RNS

The Rev. Cynthia Meyer said she was “called by God to be open and honest” about who she is. So, during her first sermon of 2016, Meyer broke the news: She loves another woman.

“I’ve been praying, and in a process of discernment for some time, particularly over the past few years, once I entered into a relationship,” said Meyer, pastor of Edgerton United Methodist Church.

Most Americans oppose religious exemptions to LGBT non-discrimination laws, according to a new survey. The report comes as a raft of bills before state legislatures would allow people to refuse service or accommodations to gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people based on their religious beliefs.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Image via Jerome Socolovsky/RNS

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is describing the recent censure of his church over allowing clergy to perform same-sex marriages as a “fair” move by the wider Anglican Communion. Anglican primates voted last month in Canterbury, England, to remove the Episcopal Church from votes on doctrine and to ban it from representing the communion in ambassadorial relationships for three years.

Ryan Hammill 1-21-2016

Archbishop Justin Welby. Image via Mobilising Faith Communities in Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict/Wikimedia Commons

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the “first-among-equals” leader of the world’s Anglican churches, has published his reflection on the 2016 Primates MeetingThe Jan. 11-15 meeting of the leaders, or primates, of the Anglican Communion ended with a three-year suspension of The Episcopal Church’s right to represent the Anglican Communion on interfaith or ecumenical bodies and vote on doctrine and polity because of The Episcopal Church’s unilateral decision to recognize same-sex marriage.

As a black, same-gender loving woman, who is a pastor, Bishop and activist, I can solidly say that my wife, children, grandchildren, and community have stronger allies, greater opportunities, and more protections than we have ever had. This is in many ways attributable to a growing number of black clergy who are no longer willing to stand idly by and watch large segments of the communities they were called to serve alienated, stripped of rights, physically abused, and treated unjustly. They have taken the costly stand against the notion that LGBTQ people are unworthy of God’s love and full acceptance within the church.

the Web Editors 1-14-2016

Canterbury Cathedral. Image via /Shutterstock.com

A meeting at Canterbury of the leaders, or primates, of the various churches that comprise the Anglican Communion have announced that they are imposing a three-year discipline on The Episcopal Church.

Betsy Shirley 1-11-2016
Gay Christian Network founder Justin Lee

Gay Christian Network founder Justin Lee.

Less than 10 weeks after Houston voters — many persuaded by local Christian pastors — repealed a city ordinance that would have protected Houstonians from discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity (as well as race, religion, and other traits), 1,450 people gathered in the city for the Gay Christian Network conference, the world’s largest annual event for LGBT Christians and their allies.

Image via Jim Urquhart / REUTERS / RNS

Gay marriage is now the law of the land and, increasingly, a line in the sand conservative churches say they will not cross.

The latest is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Nov. 5, it issued new guidelines, saying Mormons in same-sex relationships will face possible excommunication and their children will not be permitted to join the church until they are 18 — and then only if they reject their parents’ relationship.

The new policies make the LDS church, with about 15 million members globally, the largest Christian denomination to enact such a formal — and some say draconian — policy. Children of same-sex couples are effectively denied baptism and other ordinances of the church.

“I am sure everyone feels regret about this,” said D. Michael Quinn, a scholar who was excommunicated by the LDS church in 1993 but still considers himself a Mormon.

“The leaders who have instituted this have done so without any relish. They have done so with regret. All Mormons down the line will look at it as regrettable.”

Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Image via Paul Haring / Catholic News Service / RNS

“The frame of reference is now going to be: ‘What does the gospel really say here?’ That’s our first task.”

That’s Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl summing up the new course for Catholicism set by the momentous Vatican meeting of 270 bishops from around the world that concluded last weekend, a three-week marathon in which he played a key role.

After often contentious talks on whether to adapt the church’s approach to issues such as divorce and cohabitation, the high-level synod succeeded in giving Pope Francis a document that offers him significant new flexibility in shaping more pastoral policies.

Archbishop John J. Myers. Image via Paul Haring / Catholic News Service / RNS

Even as Pope Francis and Catholic leaders from around the world debate ways to make the Catholic Church more inclusive, Newark Archbishop John Myers has given his priests strict guidelines on refusing Communion to Catholics who, for example, support gay marriage or whose own marriage is not valid in the eyes of the church.

In the two-page memo, Myers also orders parishes and Catholic institutions not to host people or organizations that disagree with church teachings.

He says Catholics, “especially ministers and others who represent the Church, should not participate in or be present at religious events or events intended to endorse or support those who reject or ignore Church teaching and Canon Law.”

Renee Gadoua 9-23-2015

Image via /Shutterstock

In another example of Christian discord over gay inclusion, Presbyterian churches in Brazil and Peru have ended their partnerships with the Presbyterian Church (USA) after the U.S. denomination changed its constitution in March to allow clergy to celebrate same-sex marriages.

The loss of the South American partnerships comes on top of the 50 U.S. congregations that formally split from the 1.8 million-member denomination since the church policy changed, PCUSA officials say.

Mexico stopped partnering with the denomination after it allowed the ordination of sexually active gays and lesbians in 2011.

Image via USA Today/RNS

Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk jailed for five days for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, identifies as an Apostolic Christian and attends Solid Rock Apostolic Church in Morehead, Ky.

But what’s an “Apostolic Christian” and why does the group object to same-sex marriage? Let me 'splain:

Q: Who are Apostolic Christians?

A: The term could refer to any one of a few different groups, including the Apostolic Christian Church or the Apostolic Pentecostal movement, also known as Oneness Pentecostalism. Solid Rock’s website was down Sept. 9 and a busy signal greeted anyone trying to reach the church. But it is listed on a worldwide directory of Apostolic Pentecostal churches and ministries.

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