The firing of Pastor Proves LGBT Schism in Methodist Church

Firing Over Officiating Lesbian Wedding Shows Conflict
Anna Golladay was fired from being an associated pastor in Chattanooga, Tennessee for performing a same-sex marriage. Anna Golladay is a representative of the Reconciling Ministries Network, an organization that works to have LGBT inclusion in the Methodist Church. This is part of a growing separation by Methodist officials on what should be the policy towards LGBT Methodists.

The United Methodist Church has a Book of Discipline, which contains all the doctrines and laws. All the people who follow this faith must stick to them, at all costs. According to one of the doctrines, “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Ms. Golladay stated that her decision did not come callously. She knew the couple for a long period of time and meditated on her decision. Finally, she decided that the power of love and what she believed God wanted overcame the “man made” rules of the Methodist Church. She officiated the wedding and put her name on the wedding license.

When the central office received the notice, it created problems. It is policy not to officiate any queer weddings. Ms. Golladay is also not an ordained minister, but an associate pastor. This means that her being fired can be fast tracked. The ministry’s Scenic South District discussed the situation and voted to withdraw Golladay’s license because of her failure to stick to the rules of the church. The district superintendent, Rev. Randy Martin, decided to fire her, but not punish her, because of her openness in officiating the ceremony and because it was decided to be a personal matter.

Will this spark a change in UMC?

Anna Golladay has subsequently spoken out on social media and news organizations about the isolation and exclusion that queer Methodists have felt, and the difficult decision between staying a Methodist or denying who they love.

St. Elmo and St. Marks belong to the grassroots and independent group, the Reconciling Ministries Network, which works with the church’s LGBTQ people actively. According to Golladay, these groups consist of LGBTQ individuals and other people who are supportive of their decisions.

Reconciling Ministries Network’s executive director, Jan Lawrence is unhappy with the decision of the church. She said that the higher authorities took action without asking the congregations for any input.

Golladay also said that the higher authorities decision to remove her license has harmed her congregations irreparably. She believes that the authorities could have handled this situation in a better manner.

Methodists are the third-largest religious organization in the United States. Members of her congregation have expressed being extremely upset over the decision and it is casting doubt on whether they would continue to be active participants. Ms. Golladay is still allowed to be a member and participate in Methodist events, but not in the official capacity as a pastor.

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