Julia Agos is a reporter and the host of All Things Considered for WITF. Previously, she was a political reporter for WFUV News in New York, where she covered New York City and state politics and hosted the Prickly Politics Podcast. Julia grew up in Sacramento, California and graduated from Fordham University.
(Lancaster) — A midstate congregation is leaving the United Methodist Church over what it says are discriminatory policies toward LGBTQ couples.
The resolution to reform as a new church not affiliated with UMC passed the congregation with 90 percent approval.
A vote by UMC in 2019 to strengthen the consequences for pastors who marry LGBTQ couples led many in the community to want change, said lead Reverend Andrea Brown. Pastors participating in such unions risk suspension or loss of ministerial credentials.
Now known as simply Grandview Church, the Lancaster congregation will maintain much of its Methodist traditions while treating all couples at the altar equally, Brown said.
“We have to think about how we can act with urgency when people are being harmed, so that’s been this congregation’s answer to that question,” she said.
The United Methodist Eastern PA Conference did not respond to a request for comment.
The roughly 400 parishioners of Grandview Church will continue to use Methodist hymnals and teaching materials.
Grandview will officially leave UMC on March 31.
Brown says they will be one of just a handful of former UMC churches to adopt LGBTQ affirming practices.
“When it came to LGBTQ rights, the church was very clearly on one side of that question and that was the side of seeking justice for people. It is a very justice-minded congregation,” she said.
The parish will remain at its Pleasure Road location but will have to pay a $607,000 fee to the global organization to stay in the building.