Reverend Oliver is keen to continue on his progressive path, despite UMC’s aversion to LGBT equality.
The United Methodist Church (UMC) during its international conference in St. Louis witnessed several of its delegates voting against ordaining LGBTQ clergy. The February vote also went against the intention to permit ministers to officiate during same-sex marriages within the church. The delegates supported the “Traditional Plan,” a conservative worldview that strengthens enforcement procedures and pushes for penalties against that UMC clergy who break the rules.
Reverend Andy Oliver, who officiates at the St. Petersburg-located Allendale United Methodist Church, is one such rebel UMC clergy. He continues to defy the UMC’s administrative diktat by officiating same-sex marriages. Yesterday he conducted an exceptional service at the Allendale UMC where he invited people to celebrate themselves and if they want to, grieve. The Reverend’s pro-LGBTQ stance is clear to anyone in the vicinity of the church. Just outside the church building is a sign having six heart shapes, all in rainbow colors. Assembled below are the words stating forgiveness for harm done by the church. The Allendale church is not only merely tolerant of LGBTQ individuals; they celebrate their identities.
To an observer of church politics, it is evident Reverend Oliver is the reverse of Kim Davis. He not only does his job of officiating marriages but also does them in a manner which validates and dignifies the procedure. If the UMC leadership does not like what he does, they must expel him as he is not going anywhere by his own accord.
Good for him!!! https://t.co/IAnxZXQhH9
— Alan Steed (@alansteed) March 9, 2019
This is how you stop bigotry. By FIGHTING IT. https://t.co/b6eRSLffRv
— Georgia Antifascist ?? (@HumanistHope) March 8, 2019
Not all Allendale residents are happy with their pastor. Vandals desecrated the church’s gay-friendly sign in the summer of 2018. The response of the church was a classic one. The church countered with “Love always wins!” written alongside the hate graffiti. When asked by the media about his next steps, the pastor informed them of his intention to work with Equality Florida on making schools healthy and safe. The list of things include the adoption of anti-bullying measures to make the schools entirely safe for all transgender students. Oliver admitted although such an action goes against the UMC strictures, it will mobilize those who are concerned about the issue into action.