Local News

Gays Say Churches Shut Them Out

Posted April 4, 1998

— Church is a place that supposedly welcomes everyone. But members of the gay and lesbian community say many churches are shutting them out.

The North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and others are speaking out against homosexual relationships.

But St. John's Metropolitan Community Church embraces same sex relationships and now, they are speaking out against faiths that discourage them.

Last week, a North Carolina bishop with the Methodist church made a formal request for a universal ban on gay unions within the church and that has many people in the Christian community upset.

"We have no reason to feel any disgrace, we have no reason to feel shame," said Pastor W. Wayne Lindsey.

A church member said, "The Christian family needs to quit judging us by our sexuality. I just don't know how you can do that in Christianity and survive.'

So the congregation today took their message of unity to the street, walking along the Glenwood Avenue sidewalk.

"For a long time I felt less, and felt I wasn't worthy until I got God back into my life and God taught me I'm as worthy and valid as anyone else," said church member Billy Hegwood.

This congregation hopes one day all churches will welcome all types of people, even if it takes one step at a time.

Observers say it could be several years before the Methodist Church formally takes up the issue.

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