About That Charlotte Methodist Gay Wedding Church

A liberal United Methodist congregation in North Carolina made news this week as it hosted the first same-sex couple in North Carolina to get married in a United Methodist church.

Same-sex weddings – and the use of Methodist church buildings to host them – are against the 12 million-member denomination’s rules, but they also aren’t new in United Methodism: participating clergy usually conduct them outside of Methodist sanctuaries, as Talbert did in 2013 at a United Church of Christ (UCC) church building in Alabama.

 

A liberal United Methodist congregation in North Carolina made news this week as it hosted the first same-sex couple in North Carolina to get married – at least publicly – in a United Methodist church. The ceremony, presided over by retired Bishop Melvin Talbert and First UMC Charlotte Pastor Val Rosenquist, is a direct challenge to the denomination’s teaching and timed on the eve of the quadrennial United Methodist General Conference convening in Portland, Oregon on May 10.

(Mark Tooley authored a blog post about Talbert and United Methodism’s future yesterday that you can read here.)

Same-sex weddings – and the use of Methodist church buildings to host them – are against the 12 million-member denomination’s rules, but they also aren’t new in United Methodism: participating clergy usually conduct them outside of Methodist sanctuaries, as Talbert did in 2013 at a United Church of Christ (UCC) church building in Alabama. Depending on where the union is solemnized, there has been an uneven patchwork of enforcement for violations of the Book of Discipline across the UMC.

As the Charlotte Observer notes in its coverage, First United Methodist Church (FUMC) has long been among Charlotte’s gay-affirming churches. It was the first Charlotte church, in 2014, to join the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), the unofficial LGBT caucus within United Methodism.

In its vision statement, RMN declares that it “envisions a renewed and vibrant Wesleyan movement” – so does FUMC Charlotte reflect renewal and vibrancy? Demographic data paints a picture of a congregation that is failing to reflect the diversity, growth and youth of the population that surrounds it.

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