OMAHA, Neb. The bishop of the United Methodist Nebraska Conference has given her blessing to an Omaha church’s decision to assist same-sex couples seeking commitment ceremonies as long as they don’t hold them at the church.
First United Methodist Church’s congregation voted overwhelmingly in favor of a policy that would all but allow same-sex couples to have the ceremonies in the church. But United Methodist rules forbid services uniting same-sex couples to be conducted by its ministers or in its churches.
Bishop Ann Sherer said there are a number of United Methodist churches across the nation doing the same thing as the Omaha church.
“They have reached out to a constituency they seek to serve. I am grateful for their faithfulness to the laws of the church and I’m also grateful they want to reach out and make disciples of many kinds of people,” Sherer said.
The Rev. Chad Anglemyer, senior minister at First United, said his congregation wants all GLBT persons to have as full access to the church as possible. Anglemyer said lay members can conduct holy union services outside the church. Then the couple, family and friends are invited to a worship service at First United. As part of the pastoral counseling, couples can be referred to other denominations that permit their clergy to perform same-sex unions.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.