MEDFORD, Ore. – A group of United Methodists in Southern Oregon said they’re committed to welcoming LGBTQ+ people during a time when the church as a whole is seriously considering splitting over the issue.
During a recent meeting, a group of United Methodist Church leaders from around the world proposed a plan to split the church over disagreements about same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ+ issues. The agreement would create a new “Traditionalist Methodist” denomination that will continue to practice the ban on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ clergy.
The proposal would allow conservative churches forming the new denomination to keep their buildings, but the split is not official yet. It will be voted on in May.
On January 8, the Southern Oregon United Methodists representing Ashland, Grants Pass and Medford, stated they’re committed to supporting LGBTQ+ people.
“We are deeply committed to be churches that welcome all people from all walks of life,” said Rev. Ryan Scott, the first openly gay pastor assigned to Newman United Methodist Church in Grants Pass. “LGBTQIA+ people are made in the image of God and ought to be welcomed and affirmed in our congregations. We cannot keep denying their leadership or their love.”
Local clergy members issued the following statement:
As clergy representing the inclusive United Methodist Churches of Southern Oregon, we stand united in our commitment to serve the LGBTQIA+ community. This includes celebrating same-gender weddings and supporting LGBTQIA+ clergy in our denomination. Our congregations will continue to be places of welcome and hospitality to all people. We will seek to persevere in our ministry with people who are oppressed, marginalized, or otherwise maligned from the church and society. We, wholeheartedly, believe that Christ lives within the hearts of our LGBTQIA+ siblings just the same as anyone else. Furthermore, we reject the idea that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and celebrate the life, leadership, and love of LGBTQIA+ people everywhere.
Rev. Ryan Scott Rev. Brett Strobel
Newman UMC, Grants Pass Ashland First UMC
Rev. Benjamin Devoid
Medford First UMC Rev. Dorita Betts-Borgerson
Ashland Fist UMC