KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL)- Just one day after the United Methodist Church rejected a move to loosen restrictions on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy, local pastors say their message hasn’t changed.
Chris Brown, the Pastor at Colonial Heights United Methodist Church, said even after the vote in St.Louis Tuesday, he is still providing an welcoming environment for all.
“I try to make sure that we create a space here that is loving for all people, and that’s not going to change with the general conference decision, we still are called as disciples to welcome all into the church and to love all,” Brown said.
Brown acknowledged the issue has been a divisive one within the church, and even said he would briefly address the matter this coming Sunday.
“…there’s a lot of people that now feel abandoned and hurt by the church, but there’s also a lot of people that feel that what we are doing is following God’s word…are people that are upset with this decision are they going to push to leave the denomination?…so if we see an exodus of folks in our churches or an exodus of churches in our denomination it could very well change, and I still see this issue coming up again in 2020,” Brown said.
Brown said he plans to continue to encourage his congregation to,”respond to general conference by serving more, by praying more, and by loving more.”
Pastor Will Shewey at Shades of Grace in downtown Kingsport echoed that message, saying they will continue to provide an accepting, and open environment to those that join them for worship.
“All people have always been welcome in this place which we call God’s living room, and it will not affect us in any way here,” Shewey said.
The next General Conference for the United Methodist Church is scheduled for May 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.