A church in Indiana has seen about 80 percent of its members leave after a gay choral director was forced out over his sexual orientation.
Adam Fraley told The Herald Bulletin that he worked for the United Methodist Church in Alexandria for six years and attended with his partner. When a new minister took over the church last year, Fraley said that he resigned because of pressure about his sexual orientation.
United Methodist Church law allows LGBT people to attend church services but says “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve.”
Many members of the church, who supported Fraley, were at odds over what it meant to “serve.”
Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church Communication Director told The Herald Bulletin that LGBT people were only prohibited from being ordained as ministers and that all other posts could be decided by church leadership.
“Any other leadership positions should be filled at the discretion of the congregation and the minister,” Gangler explained.
The disagreement over whether Fraley should have been allowed to keep his job has caused a divide between the church and members like David Steele.
Steele said that he pushed the new interim minister, David Mantor, to re-hire Fraley. But Mantor was unconformable with Fraley’s sexual orientation. And instead, Steele was asked to resign his position in church leadership. When Steele refused, the district superintendent personally held a meeting to relieve him of duty.
According to Steele and his wife, Nancy, about 80 percent of the church’s congregation had stopped attending because of the way Fraley was treated.
“They all embraced him,” Nancy Steele pointed out. “They’re upset about the way he was treated.”
“It’s almost like he’s hijacked the church,” David Steele added. “He is completely going against what the church body wants.”
[Photo: Priest wearing purple robe gives sermon via Shutterstock]
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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