Congregation of sacked gay pastor to deliver pledges of support to bishop’s door
The congregation of a pastor who says he was sacked for being gay is to deliver its support this week.
Reverend Benjamin Hutchison and his partner Monty Hutchinson married last week in the pair’s home state of Michigan. Around 30 fellow clergy members – in defiance of the denomination’s stated beliefs on homosexuality – and 100 other guests attended.
After an apparent complaint was made to Methodist leaders earlier this month, Hutchison was called in by church officials last week and asked if he had a male partner. He was immediately terminated.
Now members of Hutchison’s congregation are offering their support in the form of a pledge.
Vowing to “Stop the Harm” by the church to LGBT people, the pledge takes aim at the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, under which Hutchison was sacked.
According to MLive, the pledge reads that the book has “discriminatory language and punitive practices.
“We hereby declare that we DO NOT accept what is directly contradictory to the teachings of Jesus and Methodist’s founder John Wesley,” the pledge continues.
The pledge will be delivered to the home of the managing bishop, and will call for action at a press conference on Tuesday.
Read the key points of the pledge below:
In the name of Christ we hereby pledge to:
• Ask God to help me be attentive to the needs of my fellow human beings regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Actively work to end the oppression of all of God’s children regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity
• Fully support, celebrate and participate in all of the meaningful moments of a person’s life regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Offer my prayers, presence, gifts, service, witness AND heart for justice to all of God’s children regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Support all of God’s children in answering their call to ordination and pastoral ministry within the United Methodist Church regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Seek to live out our own Baptismal covenant to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” (that is, resisting even the evil & injustice & oppression of UMC polity)
• Seek to fulfill the Baptismal covenant we’ve made to ALL those received into the Body of Christ whom we promised to “surround these persons with a community of love and forgiveness, that they may grow in their trust of God, and be found faithful in their service to others.”
Other than Hutchison being dismissed for his sexuality, nine other pastors could face discriplinary action for simply attending his wedding.
While ten of the thirty pastors who were there pronounced the couple married, the ceremony was officiated by Minister Michael Tupper, and prospective minister Ginny Mikita.
Tupper and Mikita were the only two who signed the marriage licence, despite others wanting to.
But Tupper says he has now been forced to hand over the names of the nine other pastors who pronounced the men “husband and husband”.
“Folks were aware that it violated the book of discipline by saying those words,” Tupper told Michigan Live.