Methodist Church Refuses to Hold Any Weddings until Same-Sex Marriage is Allowed

The denomination’s Book of Discipline, which governs the Methodist church, also says that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.”  

An Austin church has voted to stop performing wedding ceremonies at the church until the Methodist church starts allowing same-sex weddings.

First United Methodist Church in Austin voted on Sept. 24 to temporarily stop wedding ceremonies. The congregation voted 93 percent in favor.

Taylor Fuerst, the church’s senior pastor, said he hopes the vote “will have a unifying effect on the congregation.”

“It communicates even more to our city that if you are in the LGBTQ community that you are not tolerated here, but embraced,” he said.

Currently, the Methodist church bans same-sex unions from being performed by pastors or taking place at Methodist churches. The denomination’s Book of Discipline, which governs the Methodist church, also says that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.”   Congregations are not required to hold weddings.

“This vote demonstrates that our members are willing to sacrifice a position of privilege in order to stand in solidarity with those who are discriminated against,” said Davis Covin, who was on the Austin church’s discernment team. “I think this also serves as a great example to the children and youth in our church by showing that our members strive for social justice and equality for all God’s children.”

So far, 11 United Methodist churches have agreed to temporarily stop holding wedding ceremonies until the denomination lifts the ban on same-sex weddings.

[written by Amanda Casanova]

Archbishop of Canterbury Reluctant to Call Homosexuality a Sin

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has admitted that he is reluctant to say whether or not homosexuality is a sin.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has admitted that he is reluctant to say whether or not homosexuality is a sin.

The issue of homosexuality and gay marriage has been an extremely controversial one within the Anglican Church for some time now. Welby has tried to be a peacemaker and bring unity to the Anglican Communion, but does unity come at a price?

According to The Christian Institute, in an interview with GQ magazine, Welby danced around the issues of homosexuality and gay marriage.

He even admitted to “copping out” on answering whether or not gay marriage is a sin. Instead, he stressed that, “within myself, the things that seem to me to be absolutely central are around faithfulness, stability of relationships and loving relationships.”

When asked whether a homosexual relationship can be stable and loving, he responded, “I know it could be. I am also aware – a view deeply held by tradition since long before Christianity, within the Jewish tradition – that marriage is understood invariably as being between a man and a woman.”  The Archbishop continued, being very frank and honest: “I am having to struggle to be faithful to the tradition, faithful to the scripture, to understand what the call and will of God is in the 21st century and to respond appropriately with an answer for all people – not condemning them, whether I agree with them or not – that covers both sides of the argument. And I haven’t got a good answer, and I am not doing that bit of work as well as I would like.”

[written by Veronica Neffinger]

Hundreds of Thousands of Students to Take Part in ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day’

“In the midst of this brokenness, Christian students are equipped through this event to share encouraging Bible verses and point to the comfort that God brings in the midst of pain.”

Hundreds of thousands of students across the United States are expected to take part in a Focus on the Family-sponsored event that involves them taking their Bibles to school.

The annual “Bring Your Bible to School Day” is scheduled to take place on Thursday. Last year, the observance had an estimated 356,000 students participate.

Candi Cushman, FOTF education analyst and spokesperson for the Bring Your Bible observance, told The Christian Post that this year’s observance “comes at a time of brokenness for the nation.”

“We’ve all seen the headlines — from the hurricanes last month to the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas earlier this week,” said Cushman.

“In the midst of this brokenness, Christian students are equipped through this event to share encouraging Bible verses and point to the comfort that God brings in the midst of pain.”

Cushman also told CP that students “have the chance to express the foundation of their own hope — one that’s not shaken by trials and uncertainty, but that is built on a strong faith.”

“The Word of God has the power to heal, to comfort and to shine light in a dark world. These kids will be communicating hope for the future,” continued Cushman.

“The Bible reminds us that good will overcome evil in the end, no matter how heavy the darkness feels. John 16:33 says ‘I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.'”

Meant as a way for Christian students to express their faith and First Amendment rights, Bring Your Bible to School Day has seen tremendous growth over the past few years.

In an interview with CP from 2016, FOTF President Jim Daly explained that while in 2014 about 8,000 students participated, by 2015 the number had increased to 155,000.

Daly also told CP last year that religious freedom is a key component of Bring Your Bible to School Day, calling the observance “a nationwide, religious-freedom initiative for students from kindergarten to college.”

“On this day, they celebrate religious freedom and share God’s hope by taking a simple action — bringing their Bibles to school and talking about it with friends before and after class,” said Daly.

“Unfortunately, too many schools are sending the message that Christian kids need to hide their faith. So I think the exponential response among youth has do to with the fact that it’s something positive, redemptive, and tangible that Christian students can easily do in their schools to celebrate their faith — and to visibly see that they are joined by thousands nationwide.”

Cushman told CP that she hopes kids see the observance as “a chance to remind Americans that students don’t have to check the eternal hope that lives within their hearts — or their First Amendment rights — at the school door.”

“They can bring that hope into conversations they’re having with friends at school,” added Cushman. “‘Bring Your Bible to School Day’ provides a great opportunity to educate and increase awareness of the religious freedoms and freedom of expression that all students enjoy, even those in public schools.”

Tennessee Church Shooter Motivated by Revenge for Dylann Roof’s Massacre at Black Church

In discussing Samson’s attack, political and law enforcement officials told The New York Times on Friday that they had been worried about possible retaliation for Roof’s crimes. A former federal prosecutor said he was concerned about imitators but he never envisioned the imitator to be black.

(PHOTO: REUTERS;FACEBOOK)Dylann Roof (L) 23, Emanuel Kidega Samson (R), 25.

Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, the ex-member of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, who shot eight people including one fatally at his old church, was motivated by revenge for the nine churchgoers who were killed by Dylann Roof in 2015.

Roof, a 23-year-old white supremacist, was convicted in 2016 of killing nine black worshipers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, as they prayed at a Bible Study.

Police say Samson, an amateur bodybuilder who worked as a security guard, arrived at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ at 10:55 a.m. Sunday in a blue SUV wearing a neoprene half face mask, according to News Channel 5.

Armed with a handgun, he then “fired upon the church building” with his vehicle still running in the parking lot where he shot church member Melanie Crow Smith, 39, and left her for dead. He then went on to shoot several other people inside the church building.

The Associated Press said law enforcement officials had retrieved a note from Samson’s car that references revenge for Roof’s attack. A law enforcement report said that “in sum and in no way verbatim,” the note made reference to retaliation for the actions of Dylann S. Roof.

Roof had already received nine life sentences for his crime. He is currently on death row trying to appeal his sentence. About a week before Samson’s attack, The Washington Post said a federal judge recently dismissed Roof’s bid to fire his Jewish and Indian lawyers.

Roof, according to that report, had told investigators that he was trying to start a race war when he decided to gun down six women and three men at the church.

“Well yeah, I mean, I just went to that church in Charleston and, uh, I did it,” Roof told agents who asked him to explain what happened.

He further tried to justify the murders by saying what he did was “so minuscule” compared to what black people are “doing to white people every day all the time.”

“I had to do it because somebody had to do something,” he told FBI agents. “Black people are killing white people every day on the street, and they are raping white women.”

He remains unrepentant in jail for the church attack, declaring in a jailhouse journal entry presented by prosecutors: “I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”

In discussing Samson’s attack, political and law enforcement officials told The New York Times on Friday that they had been worried about possible retaliation for Roof’s crimes. A former federal prosecutor said he was concerned about imitators but he never envisioned the imitator to be black.

“I was worried about a lot of things, and that event was so horrific that I really didn’t know what effect it was going to have on the community,” William N. Nettles, who was the United States attorney for the District of South Carolina when the attack happened, said. “But at the time, my hunch was that I needed to be worried about a white nationalist’s copycat crime.”

Nettles said he was less worried a black person would seek race-based revenge “because of the enormous grace that was shown by the congregation and the community as a whole” after the Charleston massacre.

[written by By Leonardo Blair ]