The United Methodist Church (UMC) may be sick, but it’s not dead. Yet. Demonstrating that at least some in the UMC leadership desire the increasingly liberal denomination to pursue godliness instead of progressivism, a “pastor” in Tennessee was fired for officiating a wedding between two lesbians.
The now-fired “pastor,” Anne Golloday, served as an associate “pastor” at two churches in the Chattanooga area. The memberships of the two churches are predominantly LGBTQ.
According to Reconciling Ministries Network, an organization made up of mostly UMC members dedicated to promoting social justice causes:
In January, District Superintendent Rev. Randy Martin met with Golladay after hearing a rumor that she had performed a queer wedding. Golladay neither confirmed nor denied this, and at that time Rev. Martin said he would not proceed any further. However, in late February, an anonymous source provided Rev. Martin with a photo from the wedding, prompting him to seek a copy of the marriage license. With these documents, Rev. Martin called a meeting with the District Committee on Ministry.
Two days later, Rev. Martin informed Golladay her appointment had been terminated and her license was stripped, effective immediately.
In a statement released by Golladay, the now unlicensed “pastor” claims that,
The pain doled out by The United Methodist Church must stop. The continued minimization of our queer friends is not acceptable and should boil up in us a level of outrage that we can no longer control. My congregations have been irreparably harmed by a decision from the Bishop, the District Committee on Ministry, and the District Superintendent that could have been handled in a multitude of ways.
The decision to fire the Tennessee pastor comes as the UMC is wrapping up its 75 weeks of prayer, called “Praying Our Way Forward.” Throughout the 75 weeks, which are slated to end this June, the UMC claims to be seeking God’s direction on issues concerning LGBTQ people. A little over a year ago, I wrote:
The cynic in me wants to claim that these seventy-five weeks are actually a buffer that the Council of Bishops has given itself in order to figure out how to prevent the probably inevitable exodus of tithing members once they announce what the UMC Bishops have already decided. The United Methodist Church passed the line of theological liberalism decades ago, and, apart from the grace of God, the continued slide into further apostasy is probably inevitable. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many faithful followers of Jesus scattered throughout the denomination.
I stand by my words. In fact, this episode in Chattanooga, Tenn., gives evidence of the tension I described in my article a year ago. There are faithful followers of Jesus within the denomination, but their desire to adhere to God’s Word will continue to clash with those who desire to remake the UMC into a religion that conforms to their lust.
Regardless of what is decided at the end of the seventy-five weeks, the UMC is in for an increasingly rough ride. Whatever decision the leadership makes, it will alienate a large percentage of the UMC’s already shrinking membership. We can expect to hear more stories about activist “pastors” forcing the issue by conducting unsanctioned and unbiblical marriages. In doing so, the divide within the UMC will grow wider until the denomination no longer exists.