Dozens of United Methodist clergy members came out as lesbian, gay or bisexual on Monday, defying their church’s ban on “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” serving in ministry and essentially daring their supervisors to discipline them.
In a public letter posted online, 111 pastors, deacons, elders and candidates for ministry said church rules require “that we not bring our full selves to ministry, that we hide from view our sexual orientations and gender identities.”
“While some of us have been lucky to serve in places where we could serve honestly and openly, there are others in places far more hostile, who continue to serve faithfully even at tremendous cost to themselves, their families, and yes, even the communities they serve, who do not receive the fullness of their pastor’s gifts because a core part must remain hidden,” the letter continues.
The self-outing came one day before the United Methodist Church, one of the nation’s largest Protestant denominations, convenes its quadrennial General Conference in Portland, Oregon.
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