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United Methodist Pastors divided over gay marriage

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31 2013 7:50 p.m. MDT

Pastors of the United Methodist Church are planning to officiate same-sex marriages despite the denominations opposition of the issue, according to The Christian Post.

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Not all believers can agree on social issues, even if they’re from the same church.

Pastors of the United Methodist Church are planning to officiate same-sex marriages despite the denomination's opposition of the issue, according to The Christian Post.

Clergy members met at a United Methodist Church in Philadelphia and many in attendance agreed to “officiate a same-sex marriage next month,” the Christian Post reported.

The Rev. David Brown said to The Christian Post that this decision came “in response to the church trial of one of their peers over his involvement in blessing a gay union.”

That trial is in regards to the Rev. Frank Schaefer, who, according to The Patriot News in Pennsylvania, “could lose his ordination credentials” since he “faces charges of marrying his son Tim and his gay partner in 2006 in Massachusetts.” He will stand trial on charges that he violated church policy, The Patriot News reported.

“According to the UMC Book of Discipline, homosexuality is ‘incompatible with Christian teaching' and non-celibate homosexuals cannot undergo ordination,” reported The Christian Post. The book also says UMC clergy can’t perform same-sex unions “and defines marriage as being a union of one man and one woman,” The Christian Post reported.

But not every member of the UMC agrees with that policy.

“Increasingly, a growing number of pastors and congregants continue to call for marriage equality in their church and even test the limits of church regulations,” reported The Patriot News in Pennsylvania.

Brown, of Arch Street UMC, said the discipline code is an evolving entity and things can surely change for the UMC.

“Not to sound Biblical, but we see this as a moment in time,” Brown said to The Patriot News. “A holy moment that these things are starting to come together at a time where we think there can be movement that can happen on behalf of the denomination.”

But the Rev. Thomas Olgetree, who is an ordained elder at the New York Conference of the UMC, thinks change may be far off, according to the Religion New Service.

“I don’t think we can bring about change without more of us stepping forward boldly.”

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @hscribner

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