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Some Methodist Churches Moving Toward Same-Sex Ceremonies

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Some Methodist Churches Moving Toward Same-Sex Ceremonies

by The Associated Press

June 2, 2006 - 1:00 pm ET

(Omaha, Nebraska) The United Methodist bishop for Nebraska has approved a congregation's policy aimed at accommodating same-sex couples who want blessing ceremonies without breaking church rules that ban such ceremonies from Methodist congregations.

Bishop Ann Sherer approved a policy before it was adopted May 7 by First United Methodist Church of Omaha.

Under the policy, same-sex couples will be referred to non-Methodist clergy who will perform union ceremonies or to lay members who could conduct such ceremonies outside church. The couple will then be invited to a worship service at First United. The policy avoids United Methodist Church rules that forbid union services in its churches or conducted by its clergy.

Sherer said Methodist congregations elsewhere are doing the same. "I am grateful for their faithfulness to the laws of the church and I'm also grateful they want to reach out," she said.

The Rev. Chad Anglemyer of First United said his congregation wants gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons to have as full access as possible. First United is the only Nebraska congregation in the Reconciling Ministries Network, which advocates gay equality among Methodists.

Meanwhile, delegates to the annual Minnesota state convention of the United Methodist Church on Thursday approved resolutions favoring ordination of gay clergy and performance of same-sex marriages.

Their votes on the two issues will constitute recommendations to the denomination's General Convention, which meets in 2008.

"We are asking the general church to be more inclusive of gay, lesbian persons in the church's life," said the Rev. Bruce Robbins of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist.

Robbins said members of the Minneapolis church where he is a minister support ordaining gay clergy, and its congregation has sought to welcome gays to the church since 1992.

"The issue for many people comes down to 'What does the Bible say?'" Robbins said during a break at the four-day conference at the St. Cloud Civic Center.

The vote was 496-223 in favor of the petition calling for equal access to the Methodist church "regardless of sexual orientation."

The resolution "to remove prohibition of United Methodist clergy from celebrating homosexual unions" passed on a 394-320 vote.

©365Gay.com 2006

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