Warren pleaded for the UMC to remain united.

Jeffrey “J.J.” Warren, a lay delegate of the United Methodist Church (UMC) received a long and boisterous standing ovation after he gave an impassioned speech where he spoke on the subject of being gay and said he would love to be a Methodist church pastor in the future. He wants the UMC to welcome and love everyone.

For the UMC, the third biggest religious denomination in the United States, the fourth week of February was a terrible one. The sect nearly cleaved into two parts when a few members refused outright to accept queer Christians. Warren, one of the reserve delegates, attended from the Upper New York Conference.

The reserve delegate did not hold his feelings back. He spoke about his experiences of being gay. Warren reached out to other students with a message of Jesus' love. He said that many of his gay compatriots were unaware that God loves them as their churches said God did not. His speech came just after a time when UMC delegates had completed the voting process where a majority voted against a plan which permitted the UMC regional bodies to take independent decisions on whether to do same-sex marriages. The vote result also went against the ordination of gay clergy. About 56 percent of delegates consented to a plan which will push bans against all queer clergy and queer weddings. This vote was a preliminary one, with a final decision to be taken later.

Warren, who came as a lay delegate to the UMC meeting, spoke to over 800 delegates concerning his love for UMC, the church in which his parents raised him. He spoke about how he evangelized his fellow LGBTQ students at Sarah Lawrence College, pointing out that gays were repeatedly told God did not love them even though it was not the case. During his speech, which many listeners described as fiery, he said the love of God would triumph over man’s plans to separate. He pointed out gays are also a part of the church and are children of God.

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