Traverse City Record-Eagle

Northern Living

June 8, 2014

Equality For All

TRAVERSE CITY — John Ellinger loves the United Methodist Church but thought about leaving it over what he considers to be inequality in its doctrine.

“I’m very supportive of marriage equality conversations and I do think our church is way behind on this,” said Ellinger. “Current language in the United Methodist Book of Discipline is that clergy are not allowed to perform same-sex marriages or holy unions and that clergy should not allow such services to take place in United Methodist Churches.”

The retired Traverse City pastor is one of several area United Methodist pastors who are defying official church policy by signing an “Equality for All in Christian Marriage” statement that supports offering the church’s blessing for “all people who seek to live in a committed, faithful, loving relationship regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

More than 100 United Methodist clergy and 220 lay people in West Michigan signed the statement, said the Rev. Joe Bistayi, who helped draft the document. The statement will be presented to attendees and press at the United Methodist West Michigan Annual Conference June 11-14 in Grand Rapids.

“For me it is an invitation to our denomination to not be afraid to bless covenantal, monogamous love that we think God would bless,” said the Rev. Chris Lane, associate pastor at Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City. “I know the fear around this change has deep roots because our species has mostly known heterosexual unions. But the biblical story mostly tracks couples who are heterosexual.

“For me being Christian is to hold a Christlikeness in all our relationships and I think that can happen in same-sex couples as easily as in heterosexual couples. I think 50 years from now we’ll look back in amazement at the holdup. Because marriage is a conservative contract. It’s stable, it’s affirmative of family life. It’s encouraging someone to love someone until one dies. If anything, the church should be in the forefront (of the marriage equality movement).”

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot