AUSTIN, Texas – Leadership at an Austin church have decided not to perform any more wedding ceremonies, in an effort to support members of the LGBT community. The Methodist Church currently does not allow its clergy to officiate same-sex marriages.
First United Methodist Church of Austin, just across the street from the State Capitol, announced the decision after a vote over the weekend.
“It has been over a year of thoughtful, prayerful, work by the whole church,” senior pastor Reverend Taylor Fuerst said. “Some of our leaders have really taken this home and they have led the congregation through a process of gathering information, understanding where the denomination is on this.”
“Rather than practicing discrimination in our wedding policy, we are going to give up some of the privileges that our opposite-sex couples enjoy and say ‘we will all receive the same ministry in terms of weddings,'” Fuerst said.
“It’s not that the church is not involved in weddings at all, it’s just that we only do for everybody what we can do for anybody,” she explained.
She said gay Texans “need allies to stand with them,” to practice “sacrificial love.”
“The important thing is for each congregation to consider what do we believe about this, and how do we find a way to align our practice with that,” she added.
“We are not actually breaking any rules here,” Fuerst said. “Our position is one that sort of threads the needle.”
“We long for the full inclusion in ministry of all people,” she stated. “We are still working towards that.” She said FUMC has fought for equality and for “inclusion of all people in ministry for decades.”
We contacted numerous United Methodist Church congregations in Texas. Only one other…