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Same-sex couple kicked out of church because they wouldn’t end ‘forbidden marriage’

Nick Duffy August 16, 2019
Olivia and Mary Trollinger

Olivia and Mary Trollinger (Facebook)

A Mississippi couple have been ejected from their church because they wouldn’t “repent” their relationship.

Olivia and Mary Trollinger had attended Gracewood Baptist Church in Southaven, on the outskirts of Memphis, until they were told they had been ejected from the church on Monday, August 12.

In a letter, Gracewood pastor Barry Baker informed the married couple that members had “voted without objection” to eject them because of their “unbiblical lifestyle”.

Family ‘supported’ church decision to expel couple.

Speaking to local outlet ABC24, Mary Trollinger explained she was “really shocked” by the decision as her family attends the church, and her father is head deacon.

She explained that her family supported the church’s decision, adding: “Not only did my mum say ‘you can’t live here’, but my church said ‘you can’t go here’, and it was in the same day.”

The couple met through Gracewood and got married in 2018.

In his letter, Baker had claimed: “For a professing Christian to live openly and unremorsefully in sin is degrading to the name of Christ, defiling to his/her church family, and destructive to himself/herself… We love you too much to neglect you.”

Pastor calls on couple to ‘repent’.

The pastor wrote: “I had hoped that you would repent. However, after numerous attempts by your family, church members and friends to convince you of your error, you have remained resistant.”

Although the pair were ejected from the church, they were told that they could “be restored to full fellowship” by showing “evidence of repentance and reformation”.

Olivia and Mary Trollinger received a letter from their church informing them of their expulsion
Olivia and Mary Trollinger received a letter informed them of their expulsion

Olivia Trollinger said: “It’s one thing if you send out a letter that’s generic, just a template, but it’s another thing to personalise the letter.

“In that sense, all the things that were said it wasn’t out of love, it was more out of spite.”

Mary Trollinger said she was “pretty heartbroken” to be ejected and felt “a deep depression”, but said she would find a “better church”.

She added: “Love my wife and Christ! ‘Nough said…”

The church is yet to comment publicly on the row.

Earlier this year, a report ranked Mississippi and Tennessee among the worst states for LGBT+ inclusion.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute’s annual index found both states to be lacking “basic equality” for LGBT+ people.

More: Church, Mississippi, Religion

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