Raleigh Methodist church has message of love, openness for LGBTQ community

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – An emotional Pastor Rick Clayton stood before a packed congregation at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church Wednesday night with a message especially for members of the LGBTQ community.

“You are worthy of life,” Clayton said. “You are loved by the church, and you will be nurtured by the church.”

Emily Demarest, a member of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, said she’s disappointed after a vote by the United Methodist General Conference to pass the Traditional Plan, banning same-sex marriage and ordaining clergy from the LGBTQ community.

According to Clayton, any clergy that violates these terms could face consequences. 

“The Methodist Church is known for being quite liberal, and very accepting,” Demarest said. “We’re planning on having our sons baptized in this church, and when it first came out, I was concerned that ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to derail that. We can’t do that.’ We can’t even make that symbolic gesture of baptizing children in a church that has this stance. But baptism isn’t just symbolic. It’s about a local church community and tonight it’s been made very clear that the beliefs of this church and my family’s beliefs are still very much aligned.”

For Gene Davis, he and other church leaders feel it was important to address the issue at Wednesday’s service.

“Many of my friends who are in the LGBT community are members of this church, or other churches in the United Methodist Church, and I know they are hurting,” Davis said. “It was a very powerful moment. A moment that I hope begins the healing that needs to take place.”

He and others will continue spreading their message. 

“We are a church that is truly based in God’s love, and this doesn’t feel to me that the decision that was made, was the decision that was really founded in the love of God,” Davis said. 

According to Davis, a large number of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church’s congregation is a part of the LGBTQ community. 

He and other church leaders said it’s also important to keep up dialogue with members after this decision. 

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