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Gay pastor forced to resign just for being gay

Sarah Charlton July 17, 2015
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A US pastor is currently fighting a decision to sack him, simply because he is in a same-sex relatonship.

Benjamin Hutchison, a pastor at Cassopolis United Methodist Church, was forced to resign after a complaint was made against him, and now his congregation are fighting for him to return.

Hutchison, a pastor at the church since January 2013, was forced to resign by Superintendent John Boley on Monday as he was told his sexuality made him “unfit” to lead his flock despite being accepted by his congregation as being gay.

Boley said that someone had made it known in the bishop’s office that Hutchison has a gay partner.

“He asked me if I did and I said yes.” Hutchison said. “By that evening at 7:00 I resigned under the condition of immediate termination. If I wouldn’t have resigned, they would have fired me.” He continued.

The church’s Book of Discipline states: “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”

Hutchison said he was hired to increase the number of people in the congregation and in the first eight weeks he preached, it quadrupled in its amount of members.

“He built a congregation because he went to all of the village meetings and county meetings just because. Everyone got to know him. He wanted to know what was going on. It meant enough to him and that also got everybody to know him.” Said Kevin Hershberger, a church member.

He also said an “emotional” meeting was held on Wednesday to explain the move to which around eighty members attended.

“His message was, it’s in the Book of Discipline that we’ve got open doors to everybody. We welcome everybody, apparently, except for the pastor.” Hershberger said.

“This church was dying when he came here, they weren’t far from closing the doors. It was real close. He came in, worked on it, got people to come. … He brought life back into that church.” He continued.

Another church member, James Solloway, told Fox 7: “He’s a great guy, the community will suffer a great loss with him gone. What his personal life is his personal business.”

The former senior pastor said he has faith that God will lead him to the right place, and he believes that gay people have a place in the church.

“Christ died for all people, all capital letters, A. L. L. How else do you explain that in English? It’s all people. Black, white, gay, straight, Democrat, Republican, fat, thin, vegetarian, carnivores, Christ died for all people.”

More: Christianity, Church, Employment, Gay, LGBT, marriage, pastor, Religion, same sex marriage, US

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