Broadway’s deacons to study issue, make recommendation
FORT WORTH Members of Broadway Baptist have put off a decision about whether to include photos of openly gay couples in a directory commemorating the church’s 125th anniversary.
Church members who number 1,600 were scheduled to vote on the matter after Sunday services on Dec. 2. However, they opted to delay the vote until Broadway Baptist’s board of deacons makes a recommendation Feb. 24.
“We will continue to discuss this issue together as a church family,” Kathy Madeja, chair of Broadway Baptist’s board of deacons, said in a written statement. “We do not want to rush to make a decision but rather to continue to listen to each other and for God’s leading for our church. Our members have diverse opinions about many things, but what we have in common is our love for God, the church and each other.”
The church is widely considered moderate in Southern Baptist circles and has developed an unwritten policy over the years of accepting gay members, according to reports. But gay couples have never been pictured in Broadway Baptist’s directory.
The Rev. Brett Younger has been the pastor of the church since 2001. He is the church’s 20th pastor.
Broadway Baptist is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which encourages churches to minister to gays but maintains that homosexuality is a sin.
In October, three gay couples requested to have their pictures included in the 125th anniversary edition of the church’s directory, touching off the controversy.
Since then, proposed resolutions have included allowing the gay couples to be pictured together; having them pictured individually but allowing their names to appear together in phone listings; and eliminating all member pictures from the directory.
On Sunday, the congregation was to vote on the proposal to have the couples pictured individually.
Tarrant County Lesbian and Gay Alliance President David Reed, who tried to join Broadway Baptist in the early 1990s but was denied membership because of his sexual orientation, said he believes it’s appropriate for the church to spend more time on the issue. Reed said Broadway Baptist has a history of sidestepping debates about the standing of gays in the church.
“If they actually follow through on it, then I think it’s a good decision,” Reed said. “I hope that they will go beyond their history and have a genuine discussion that will take into account the feelings of all sides.
” It ought to send a message to the deacons that the procedure needs to be in-depth, and I’m hopeful that they will follow through in that direction.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 7, 2007