RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The United Methodist Organization voted to strengthen its ban on same-sex relationships, and some fear it could lead to a split in the church.
“Our motto as Methodist is that we have open hearts, open doors, and open minds,” said Rev. Jason Butler.
For years the congregation at Open Table United Methodist has provided sanctuary to people regardless of their sexual orientation.
“All people are welcome here,” Butler said. “We don’t believe that someone’s sexual orientation, someone’s sexuality is sinful, or that people are bad. People are created in God’s image, and are good.”
That stance makes Butler, and Open Table, renegades in their own religion.
“I think it’s extremely saddening,” Butler said. “So much of our congregation is part of the LGBTQ community.”
The United Methodist General Conference recently voted to adopt a traditional plan banning same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy.
“Once again we feel betrayed by a church closing its doors on the LGBTQ community,” Butler said.
According to Rev. Butler the United Methodist Church is even threatening repercussions for churches that fail to abide by these laws.
“We only can control what we can control. We’re going to control how we live out Gods love for the world. If that puts us into conflict with our denomination then we’re prepared to face that.”
That’s why Butler is searching for answers in the scripture.
“We want to be a voice within the Methodist Church of resistance so to speak,” said Rev. Butler. “We are going to be a voice that boldly, unapologetically affirms, recognizes and loves the LGBTQ community.”
That’s why Open Table is opening their doors for Sunday service in a show of celebration and solidarity with the LGBTQ community. The service begins at 10 a.m.