Regarding the Feb. 26 article “United Methodist delegates defeat bid to ease LGBT bans” describing the recent meeting of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in Saint Louis, Missouri, I am writing to clarify to our city, local partners and fellow faith communities that Pleasant Street United Methodist Church of Waterville rejects the hurtful and discriminatory language and rules adopted at that meeting.

In what can only be described as a fundamentalist takeover of our denomination, a minority of U.S. church delegations and international traditionalists came together to vote against allowing broad theological diversity in our church and doubled down on banning married gay and lesbian pastors and the celebration of same-sex weddings. They further grieved the Spirit by attempting to pass draconian penalties for pastors, bishops and congregations who refuse to participate in this theological purge.

Thankfully, most of those penalties are being challenged as “unconstitutional” and not allowable under our founding documents.

This decision and the publicity surrounding it could well have a chilling effect on our ability to partner and minister with LGBTQ persons, their families, friends, and allies. I am writing to assure those who have come to know us as a welcoming and justice-seeking presence in the community that we will continue to follow Jesus, who teaches us to love our God and love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40).

Among the many symbols on the welcome banner outside our church is a rainbow. It is not there by accident, and all the children of God, churched or unchurched, young or old, gay or straight, of every race and color, continue to be invited to seek refuge under its promise of protection at Pleasant Street United Methodist Church.


The Rev. Thomas L. Blackstone

Pleasant Street United Methodist Church

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