RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Singing and standing together, more than 200 members of United Methodist congregations around Raleigh rallied to become a more inclusive church community.
That rally comes after a recent decision to strengthen bans on same-sex marriage and ordaining clergy from the LGBTQ+ community.
“The biggest hope is to say to our lesbian, gay, and transgender brothers and sisters this is a church for you, too,” said Pastor Liz Roberts.
Roberts is the pastor at Fairmont United Methodist Church in Raleigh. Roberts was disappointed by the February vote at the United Methodist General Conference passing the “Traditional Plan.” She said it impacts her ability to minister to her congregation.
“Nothing has changed, technically. The damages are more punitive now for anyone who wants to step out in good faith to live out their convictions and live out who they are,” Roberts said.
On Thursday, Roberts and more than 200 other members from congregations across Raleigh, came together at the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church Headquarters to show support for LGBTQ+ members of the church.
During the rally, Rev. Hope Ward, bishop of the NC Conference of the United Methodist Church, vowed to work to bring people together, despite their differences.
“Each one of us has a place in the movement toward the inclusion of all people. The welcome, the full welcome, of all people into the life of the church. The full blessing of the church upon people who love one another, and on families that are configured in ways that are not the majority configuration of years gone by,” Ward said.
During the rally, Ward was presented with more than 1,300 signatures from people standing against the ban.
United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council is expected to make a decision next month if the ban is unconstitutional.