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N.C. Church Leaves 'Too Gay' UCC


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N.C. Church Leaves 'Too Gay' UCC

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: August 1, 2005 8:00 pm ET

(Salisbury, North Carolina) A United Church of Christ congregation in Salisbury, North Carolina has voted to leave the denomination over the issue of same-sex marriage.

The UCC General Synod last month endorsed a resolution supporting gay marriage, making it the largest Christian denomination in the country to do so. (story)

About 80 percent of the nearly 1,000 delegates voted to approve the resolution. Although the decision is not binding on individual congregations a number of churches in the South threatened to leave the Church.

On Sunday, members of Shiloh United Church of Christ voted 189-9 to sever ties with the denomination - ending 40 years of affiliation with the UCC. Shiloh was founded 134 years ago.

The Rev. Priscilla Causey said that the church would remain independent for awhile and then consider whether or not to join another denomination.

"It was really obvious that this congregation was not happy, and they would not be happy until we made some changes," Shiloh Consistory President Joe Harrell told the Salisbury Post.

In 2003, Shiloh joined other churches in withholding funds from the Western N.C. Association and Southern Conference of the UCC after the ordination of a lesbian minister in Asheville.

"In my opinion, the General Synod does not represent at least the people in the pews in this church," said Harell who presented the motion to leave. "Therefore, it became almost a mandate to change our association and allow this church to move in faith ... toward the interests of the congregation."

Harell said he expected other conservative United Church of Christ congregations to follow.

The 1.3 million-member United Church of Christ has a history of supporting gays in its denomination, dating to 1972, when it ordained the first openly gay minister and established a gay caucus.

The UCC's General Synod previously has approved holy unions for non-married couples.

Last year the UCC caused a stir in the growing marriage debate when it created a television advertising campaign that featured a gay couple, among others, being excluded from a church. CBS and NBC rejected the 30-second ads. (story)

©365Gay.com 2005


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