It’s an issue which puts thousands of Methodists on the Central and South Coasts, and the churches they attend in conflict with the governing body for the religion. The international leadership rejected proposals to remove what many see as discriminatory language focused on LGBTQ members from its guidebook, the “Book of Discipline.”
Meeting in Missouri, The United Methodist Church General Conference even toughened penalties for ministers who reject the rules, and do things like perform same sex weddings.
Eight Methodist church ministers in Ventura County have taken a stand against the governing body’s position, and say they will continue to welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities into their congregations.
Reverend Rick Pearson is with the North Oxnard United Methodist Church. The minister believes the anti-LGBTQ stance taken by the governing body has hurt the church, with some people rejecting the religion because of the issue.
The governing body looked at three proposals having to do with the controversy, including removing the language. But, what was ultimately passed increases penalties for ministers who defy the guidelines. For instance, a minister who performs a same-sex marriage ceremony would lose their salary for a year. If they did it again, they could be defrocked.
It still has to go before the church’s Judicial Council for review.