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Minnesota pastor expelled for embracing LGBT+ weddings in his church

Lily Wakefield June 30, 2019
LGBT+ inclusive pastor and his church expelled

The First Covenant Church Minneapolis has a "love all" policy. (First Covenant Church Minneapolis/ Vimeo)

The Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) has defrocked a pastor and expelled his church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, because a member of staff officiated a same-sex wedding and the church embraced LGBT+ people.

He was kicked out by a 77 percent vote at the evangelical church‘s national annual meeting on Friday (June 28).

Reverend Dan Collison’s church, the First Covenant Church of Minneapolis, has also been expelled despite it being one of the founding locations of the ECC in 1885.

In 2014 , a lesbian couple who had met in the church band had their wedding officiated off-site by member of staff at Collison’s First Covenant church, according to StarTribune.

LGBT+ inclusive past and his church expelled
Dan Collison and his church were expelled by the Evangelical Covenant Church. (First Covenant Church Minneapolis/ Vimeo)

Dan Collison adopted a “love all” policy in his church

Collison later adopted a “love all” policy for his church, putting out a statement that said it would: “Welcome all persons and families, including LGBTQ+, to participate at all levels of community: serving in ministry, joining as members, holding staff and leadership roles.”

The policy also said that they would offer weddings, funerals and spiritual counsel “to all in our congregation without regard for ability, race, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.”

The ECC said the First Covenant church was “out of harmony” with its policies. Included in the reasons for dismissing Collison was that he was “eliminating the heterosexual nature” of marriage.

It also said he went against the “prohibition of clergy officiating and participating at same-sex weddings,” and that it required “clergy adhere to a personal behavioural standard of celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in heterosexual marriage.”

According to its website, the ECC was founded 134 years ago and has 850 congregations, but Collison is the first pastor in the history of the denomination to ever be removed involuntarily.

Collison told the StarTribune: ““I’m not surprised. I’m saddened. I feel grounded in the path we have chosen.

“I feel grateful for the pastors and churches who stood up for us. I feel compassion to those caught in the middle.”

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