October 7, 2010 at 8:31 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Foundry Methodist Church approves same-sex marriages

The congregation of D.C.’s Foundry United Methodist Church near Dupont Circle voted 367 to 8 on Sept. 26 to allow same-sex marriages to be performed at the church and to authorize its clergy to perform such marriages.

The action places the progressive-leaning congregation, which has long welcomed LGBT people into its fold, in violation of United Methodist Church rules, which state, “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

The bishop in charge of the denomination’s Baltimore-Washington region, John R. Schol, responded to Foundry’s action by sending the congregation a letter saying he is responsible for enforcing the church’s same-sex marriage ban, which is incorporated in the United Methodist Book of Discipline.

“In the midst of these difficult matters of the church, I will do all I can to be fair and compassionate as I work to maintain the unity and witness of the church,” he said. “As a bishop of the church I am responsible for upholding our Book of Discipline and will process and follow through with any complaint or charge against a United Methodist clergyperson of the Baltimore-Washington Conference who performs a same gender wedding or holy union.”

Rev. Dean Snyder, Foundry United Methodist Church’s senior pastor, could not be immediately reached to determine whether he plans to risk possible disciplinary action by performing a same-sex wedding at the church.

Sources familiar with the church say no same-sex weddings have been performed there since the congregation passed its Sept. 26 resolution and none were scheduled to take place in the immediate future.

The one-page resolution says the congregation believes the church prohibition against same-sex unions violates the United Methodist Church’s constitution, which bars discrimination in church functions based on “race, color, national origin, status or economic condition.”

“We therefore recommit to working within the denomination to change the Discipline of the United Methodist Church so that it may be consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ,” the resolution says.

Nancy Groth, a spokesperson for Foundry United Methodist Church’s Congregational Council, which serves as the church’s governing body, said the decision to authorize same-sex weddings at the church was prompted by the city’s action last December to legalize same-sex marriage.

“Many of us felt that it was a matter of conscience to treat all members’ covenant relationships with the same Christian pastoral care and affirmation of their faith community,” she said in an e-mail.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • The methodists are the most conservative of the middle of the road churches. But there is a group if you are interested called Church within a church. That works for full equality for glbt people. You can join it by going to CWAC.US

    Also ,the question is whether the church property belongs to the local church or the central operation of the church. In the battles for the Episcopal church property, in general the asses who leave it to join the extremists African Anglican churches have lost the battles, though it is a state law issue.

    If the church property belongs to the local church, then its hight time that they start doing gay marriages as tell the extremists to gth.

    And if it doesn’t the question is whether the local church can make arrangements to use another progressive church building in the area or else join with another progressive church, and resolve the litumgy etc problems.

    But mark my words. This is just another chink in the armour of the bigots. things are changing but everyone has to be involved. My one bitch with the gay community – I think I understand the reluctance, is that they have to get involved publically and politically to help change America.

    BTW, if every gay person could find $5/week to contribute to gay political and educational causes, that would be a Billion $$ per year. Probably many times as much as the budget of all the gay political groups total in the country.

    From the guy who was actually #1 in MD in terms of contributions to fight propHate in CA. But that was a one time thing. Please help. All I do these days is political stuff. Yes , its taken me about 6 years to get involved low level but seriously in the battles . Pls join mef

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